Reasons for alcohol use in maritally violent men

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1988;14(3):371-92. doi: 10.3109/00952998809001558.


This study compared the contexts and reasons for drinking of a maritally violent group as compared to three nonviolent comparison groups. We found that the maritally violent group reported higher levels of alcohol consumption in all of the drinking context items with the most significant differences being on drinking at home after work, at home while playing with the kids, at recreational activities, at home by oneself, on the job, at workday lunch, and with people after work. While we did find significant differences, the mean level of consumption in all contexts was relatively low. We found that the maritally violent men tended to drink to forget worries, pains, and stresses in their lives more so than the nonviolent groups. At least half the maritally violent men reported that drinking accompanied abusive events at least occasionally, while about one-third reported it often or very often accompanied their abuse. We concluded that while our findings indicate that alcohol use may facilitate marital violence, they also suggest that alcohol use and mental abuse may be symptoms of other individual, structural, or cultural norm factors. Therapy should not focus exclusively on alcohol use, but on underlying causes of both alcohol use and spouse abuse.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse*