Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Prevalence and Correlates of Intimate Partner Violence Victimization among Men and Women Entering Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Prevalence and Correlates of Intimate Partner Violence Victimization among Men and Women Entering Substance Use Disorder Treatment

Article excerpt

Intimate partner violence victimization was examined in men (N = 4,459) and women (N = 1,774) entering substance use disorder treatment. Nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 10 men reported lifetime victimization by an intimate partner. Entering treatment for alcohol, as compared to drug abuse and history of childhood abuse, were each associated with intimate partner violence victimization. Victimization by an intimate partner was also associated with mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and attempted suicide. Although victimization was linked to physical health problems, the nature of these problems varied by gender. Women and men with a history of intimate partner victimization present to substance use disorder treatment with a complex array of mental and physical health problems.

Keywords: intimate partner violence; alcohol abuse; drug abuse; mental health; physical health; child abuse

Physical assault by an intimate partner is a major public health concern (Coker et al., 2002). A recent study of women and men in 16 states and 2 U.S. territories found that approximately 26% of women and 16% of men had been physically or sexually victimized by an intimate partner (Breiding, Black, & Ryan, 2008). In previous populationbased research, nearly 23% of women and 8% of men reported lifetime physical intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization (Desai, Arias, Thompson, & Basile, 2002).

Rates of IPV victimization are even higher among women and men with a substance use disorder (SUD). Substance use has been associated with an increased risk of IPV victimization for women in the community (El-Bassel et al., 2003; Testa, Livingston, & Leonard, 2003). Women in treatment for cocaine dependence (Dansky, Byrne, & Brady, 1999) or in methadone maintenance treatment (El-Bassel et al., 2004) report elevated rates of IPV victimization relative to women in the general population. In men, problem drinking has been linked to an increased risk for victimization by an intimate partner (White & Chen, 2002), and among men in SUD treatment, alcohol use has been associated with severe IPV victimization (Chermack, Walton, Fuller, & Blow, 2001). In addition, men seeking treatment for cocaine dependence have a rate of IPV victimization that is four times the rate observed in the general population (Dansky et al., 1999). Despite the link between substance abuse and IPV victimization, little research has addressed IPV victimization in SUD patients. The present study examines rates of physical IPV victimization, as well as the correlates of physical IPV victimization, in a large, national sample of women and men entering SUD treatment in the United States.

Efforts to isolate predictors of IPV victimization in nonclinical populations suggest that childhood abuse predisposes women to experience later victimization by an intimate partner (Seedat, Stein, & Forde, 2005). Child physical abuse has consistently been linked to increased risk of IPV victimization among women, and some evidence suggests that child sexual abuse may also predict subsequent IPV victimization (Coid et al., 2001; Desai et al., 2002; Whitfield, Anda, Dube, & Felitti, 2003). Few analogous studies of men exist, but preliminary findings suggest that men with a history of child physical or sexual abuse are more likely to be victimized by an intimate partner in adulthood (Desai et al., 2002; Schafer, Caetano, & Cunradi, 2004).

Research with nonclinical populations provides support for relations between child abuse and IPV victimization, particularly for women, but findings are equivocal regarding the link between child abuse and IPV victimization in SUD patients. Among women in treatment for an alcohol use disorder, child physical abuse failed to predict past-year IPV victimization (Chase, O'Farrell, Murphy, Fals-Stewart, & Murphy, 2003). Similarly, child physical abuse was not associated with past-year IPV victimization among women and men in SUD treatment (Chermack et al. …

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