Alcohol Misuse and Women’s Use of Aggression in Intimate Relationships: The Mediating Role of Motivations for Using Aggression

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The relationship between alcohol misuse and women’s use of intimate partner violence (IPV) aggression has been well studied; however, there has been no research to date on women’s self-reported motivations for use of IPV aggression (e.g., self-defense, control) as an underlying mechanism explaining this link. Accordingly, this study aims to examine whether the effects of alcohol misuse on IPV aggression vary as a function of women’s motivations for using aggression. Participants were 412 ethnically diverse community women, between the ages of 18 and 65, in intimate relationships characterized by bidirectional IPV. The Motives and Reasons for IPV Scale was used to assess women’s reasons for using IPV aggression. Results revealed that the tough guise motive (i.e., wanting to appear tough, intimidating, and willing to harm one’s partner) explained the relationship between alcohol misuse and physical and sexual IPV aggression. Findings suggest the utility of incorporating the assessment of women’s motivations for IPV aggression in an effort to provide better informed intervention addressing the underlying reasons women use IPV aggression.

Publication Title

Journal of Interpersonal Violence