Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the standard term for any form of physical violence, psychological violence or sexual violence directed from one member of an intimate relationship toward the other member of that relationship. Men perpetrate this type of violence much more often than women. In a study published in 2014 in the journal Addictive Behaviors, researchers from two U.S. universities examined how college men’s patterns of alcohol consumption affect their chances of engaging in some form of IPV. The researchers found that the type of risk escalation involved varies according to the pattern of drinking in effect.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Basics
In addition to physical, psychological and sexual violence, the definition for intimate partner violence includes any verbal or physical threat to commit a violent act.
Specific behaviors that constitute IPV include:
- hitting or kicking someone
- attacking someone with a weapon
- stalking someone
- humiliating someone
- raping or otherwise sexually assaulting someone
- having sexual contact with someone who’s incapacitated
- forcing an individual to have sex with someone else
- limiting someone’s access to family members or other social contacts
- limiting someone’s access to money and using intimidating statements to control or limit someone’s actions
According to figures compiled in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project called the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, roughly 36 percent of American women and 28 percent of American men have been the victims of stalking or some form of physical or sexual intimate partner violence.
Psychological acts of violence are the most common forms of IPV and occur among roughly 48 percent of both men and women. Roughly one-third of all affected women experience at least two forms of IPV, while the overwhelming majority of affected men (92 percent) only experience physical violence at the hands of a partner.
Among both men and women, the first exposure to intimate partner violence usually occurs before the age of 25. Men are by far the most common perpetrators of IPV directed toward women. Women are the most common perpetrators of certain forms of male-directed IPV; however, men commit most acts of male-directed sexual violence.
Effects Of Drinking On Intimate Sexual Violence
Excessive alcohol consumption is broadly linked to violence in general, as well as to intimate partner violence in particular.
In the study published in Addictive Behaviors, researchers from Florida State University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville examined how particular patterns of alcohol consumption affect the risks for the male perpetration of intimate sexual violence during college. This examination included physical, sexual and psychological violence. The researchers gathered a 90-day record of behavior from 67 college-enrolled men involved in an intimate relationship.
In addition to providing daily reports of their level of participation in intimate violence, these men provided daily reports of their alcohol intake and marijuana intake. All of the participants were known consumers of alcohol.
The researchers identified three patterns of daily alcohol intake among the study participants: no consumption of alcohol on a given day, consumption of any amount of alcohol on a given day and heavy drinking (consumption of five drinks or more) on a given day. Compared to days when they did not drink alcohol, the participants’ likelihood of perpetrating sexual or physical acts of intimate partner violence increased on any given day when they drank at least some alcohol.
The chances of committing these acts rose in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol consumed. On days when the participants drank heavily, their likelihood of committing acts of psychological IPV rose. With regard to marijuana intake, the researchers concluded that use of the drug has no notable effect on the chances that a man attending college will commit any form of intimate partner violence.
The information provided by the study published in Addictive Behaviors falls in line with a larger body of general research that connects alcohol use to increased chances that men enrolled in college will perpetrate some form of intimate partner violence. However, the authors of the study believe that theirs is the first project to explore the link between alcohol use and college male IPV in such detail. Based on their findings, the authors believe that programs designed to prevent IPV in college or intervene in current acts of IPV should include a reduction in the drinking rate as part of their critical objectives.
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