The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Aggress Violent Behav See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract Dating violence is a serious and prevalent problem among college-aged dating couples. Although substance use has been shown to be associated with dating violence among college students in empirical studies, the use of substances as they relate to dating violence has yet to be systematically reviewed.
The purpose of the present manuscript is to review research on dating violence perpetration and victimization and substance use alcohol and drugs. First, theoretical explanations for the association between substances and dating violence are presented.
Second, the literature on substance use and dating violence is reviewed. The literature suggests a consistent association between alcohol and dating violence perpetration and victimization, although the association between drug use and dating violence is less clear. Implications of this review for dating violence prevention programming and future research are discussed.
The majority of research focus has been conducted on substance use and IPV among community and treatment samples of adults e. The purpose of the current manuscript is to review the literature on substance use i.
First, we present a brief summary of the prevalence and negative consequences of dating violence. Second, we present theoretical explanations for the association between substance use and IPV. Finally, we discuss implications for prevention programming and we provide recommendations for future research.
For the current review, we will focus on dating violence that occurs between college-aged couples. Although the definition and prevalence rates of dating violence have been discussed elsewhere e.
Regardless of the severity of the aggression, prevalence rates for dating couples are similar across gender, with males and females perpetrating and being victimized by comparable levels of aggression Prospero, ; Shorey et al. Furthermore, dating violence is associated with a number of health problems.
Although female victims are more likely than male victims to sustain physical injuries as a result of abuse Archer, , research increasingly indicates that male victims of dating violence often experience a similar number of mental health problems as their female counterparts Prospero, In all, the mental and physical health toll associated with dating violence victimization is devastating.
For instance, dating violence is often less severe in nature than aggression that occurs between intimate partners in marital or cohabitating relationships, particularly with regard to physical aggression Shorey et al.
Further, dating partners rarely cohabitate, and IPV is more frequent and severe in cohabitating relationships Stets, Similarly, Moore et al. Additionally, research with adult substance use treatment samples show that reductions in substance use is associated with reductions in IPV perpetration e. Therefore, the link between substance use and IPV among community and treatment samples of adults has been extensively explored with consistent associations found between substance use and IPV.
Unfortunately, the link between substance use and dating violence among college students has yet to be systematically reviewed, hindering our understanding of whether substance use may be as robust a correlate of aggression for these young couples as it is for community and treatment samples of adults. Thus, systematically reviewing the literature on the association between substance use and dating violence will help researchers and clinicians clarify whether adding substance use components to existing and newly developed prevention programs may enhance their effectiveness.
Theoretical Considerations Before reviewing the literature on substance use and dating violence, it is important to consider relevant theoretical frameworks for this association. Although there are a number of theoretical frameworks that have been used to explain the link between substance use and aggression see review by Giancola, , we will focus only on the theoretical models that have either been directly tested with IPV or were developed specifically for explaining the link between substance use and IPV.
For instance, substance use by one or both partners may increase the chances of arguments between partners, leading to reduced relationship quality and, in turn, aggression. However, as reviewed by Klosterman and Fals-Stewart , even after controlling for relationship discord and other negative relationship variables, substance use is still directly associated with IPV perpetration.
This suggests that substance use most likely has a different path to IPV that is not solely mediated through decreased relationship quality. Therefore, the explanatory power of the indirect effects model may not be sufficient. For example, personality dispositions to become angry or hostile, beliefs about IPV, socioeconomic status, and race have all been shown to be related to IPV and substance use, and it is possible that these variables are responsible for the association between substance use and IPV.
Therefore, like the indirect effects model, the spurious effects model does not appear to be the soundest theoretical framework for explaining the relationship between substance use and domestic violence. The proximal effects model posits that substance use is a causal agent in the association between use and aggression, with the pharmacological effects of substances e. For instance, acute alcohol use may make negative situational factors e.
Research examining the temporal association between substance use and IPV perpetration has shown that substance use often occurs prior to, and temporally close in time to, aggression e. However, the majority of research on this theory has been conducted with non-college student samples, limiting the generalizability of findings to college students.
Similar to the proximal effects model, Leonard developed a conceptual framework that proposes that acute alcohol use impacts specific episodes of aggression, but that it is only under conditions of negative interactions among partners that alcohol use will likely lead to aggression. Finally, alcohol use by both partners is hypothesized to play an important role in risk for aggression, not just alcohol use by the perpetrator. Although research with men and women arrested for IPV has demonstrated support for this framework Stuart et al.
The above theoretical frameworks for the association between substance use and IPV have received the most empirical attention from researchers. However, an additional theoretical explanation for the association between substance use and IPV has recently been developed. Bell and Naugle proposed a theory of IPV which combined existing research with basic behavioral theory principles in an attempt to provide a parsimonious framework to explain the perpetration of IPV. In their theoretical framework, substance use is viewed as an antecedent condition to aggression, specifically a motivating factor.
A motivating factor is an antecedent condition that temporarily alters the potency of a particular consequence e. Research is needed to determine whether there is empirical support for their conceptualization of how substance use is associated with IPV. One limitation to the existing theoretical frameworks on the association between substance use and IPV is their focus on the perpetration of aggression. That is, there is a lack of theoretical explanations for the association between substance use and IPV victimization.
Research shows that victims of IPV evidence increased substance use e. It is likely that theoretical development in this area has been limited due to concerns of blaming victims for their own victimization.
However, a few researchers have attempted to integrate victimization into their theoretical frameworks in order to provide a fuller picture of the relationship between substance use and interpersonal aggression. Indeed, research indicates that substance use is temporally related to victimization experiences e. It is also possible that victims and perpetrators consume substances together, creating a context which is conducive to aggression, although research is needed that examines this possibility.
An additional explanation regarding why substance use is associated with victimization experiences is that victims may use substances to cope with the aftermath of aggression Anderson, ; Kaysen et al. Indeed, research shows that victims often consume substances immediately following episodes of aggression Parks et al. Continued empirical research is needed to help clarify the mechanisms responsible for the association between substance use and IPV victimization.
Dating Violence and Substance Use The following review on the association between dating violence and substance use is restricted to college student studies only, as there are a large number of investigations that have examined the association between substance use and dating violence in this population.
Research that has examined substance use and substance-related problems as related to dating violence are reviewed. In addition, only studies that have separated perpetration and victimization, and alcohol and drug use into separate variables are reviewed. This was done because it is difficult to draw conclusions from studies that have combined these distinct topographies of aggression and distinct types of substances.
First, the association between dating violence perpetration and substance use is reviewed, with separate sections for studies that examined males, females, and both genders combined. Second, the above is repeated for the association between dating violence victimization and substance use.
Alcohol and Male Perpetration As displayed in Table 1 , numerous studies have examined the association between dating violence perpetration and alcohol in college student males. Alcohol problems refer to problems that occur as a result of alcohol use, such as drinking and driving, arguments, etc.