Associations of couples' intimate partner violence in young adulthood and substance use: A dyadic approach.

Sabina Low, Stacey S. Tiberio, Joann Wu Shortt, Deborah M. Capaldi, J. Mark Eddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: Despite numerous studies on associations between substance use and intimate partner violence (IPV), the literature lacks consistency and clarity, making it difficult to ascertain the strength and nature of such associations. Scientific understanding of contextual factors that contribute to IPV would be enhanced by studies adopting a dyadic perspective. The current study advances the literature by examining the role of alcohol and marijuana use on couples' IPV using an actor-partner framework. Method: Data were drawn from a community-based sample of 323 young adults at risk for delinquency and their romantic partners. Young adults and partners reported on their own alcohol and marijuana use and their own and their partners' IPV. Results: Results indicate actor and partner effects for psychological and sexual IPV; men and women who used more substances experienced greater IPV perpetration and victimization compared with men and women who used fewer substances. The only significant predictor of physical IPV was an actor effect, in which women's polysubstance use (vs. abstention) was predictive of higher levels of victimization. Conclusions: Findings indicate associations between alcohol use and IPV, particularly for men, and for polysubstance users of both sexes. This is consistent with other findings indicating that although alcohol use is a risk factor for IPV; effects vary considerably as a function of context, methodology, and samples. Given the presence of actor and partner effects, studies that use dyadic frameworks have the potential to yield more precise knowledge about the role of substance use in IPV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-127
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • couples
  • domestic violence
  • substance use
  • young adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology


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