Complex Relationship Between Daily Partner Violence and Alcohol Use Among Violent Heterosexual Men

David Katerndahl, Sandra K Burge, Robert L. Ferrer, Johanna Becho, Robert Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Although alcohol use and partner violence are consistently associated, the nature of the alcohol–violence relationship is still unclear. The purpose of this pilot study was to use longitudinal daily assessments of male partners’ alcohol use and violent events to identify the nature of the alcohol–violence relationship, employing both linear and nonlinear analyses. The participants were 20 adult heterosexual couples of whom the woman reported experiencing partner violence in the prior 30 days. Each partner provided a separate daily telephone report for 8 weeks via an automated interactive voice response (IVR), concerning the previous day’s violence, alcohol use, stressors, emotional reactions, and concerns for children. Individual IVR databases were merged to form a combined couple’s IVR time series. Time series were analyzed using graphic, linear, and nonlinear methods. Graphic analysis using state space grids found no consistent pattern across couples. Similarly, linear analysis using same-day cross-correlation and prior-day beta statistics found no significant group-level alcohol–violence relationship. Using cross-approximate entropy statistics and differential structural equation modeling, no nonlinear relationships between alcohol use and violence were noted either. Whether applying linear or nonlinear analytic methods, there is no group-level relationship between alcohol use by male perpetrators and their violent acts. The implications are significant. First, the alcohol–violence relationship may differ among subgroups. Second, couples need to be assessed thoroughly to determine their unique relationship with alcohol use, so that couple-specific interventions can be designed. Third, if perpetrators believe that their violence is facilitated by their alcohol use, then alcohol reduction should be encouraged despite any evidence suggesting a different alcohol–violence relationship. Finally, the accepted alcohol-causes-violence belief held by many providers needs to be reconsidered. Because the nature of the alcohol–violence relationship varies considerably across couples, clinicians should seek to understand their unique relationship applying across-the-board management approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10912-10937
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number23-24
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • alcohol
  • battered women
  • intimate partner violence
  • longitudinal studies
  • system science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Complex Relationship Between Daily Partner Violence and Alcohol Use Among Violent Heterosexual Men'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this