The dynamics of partner violence and alcohol use in couples: Research methods

Sandra K. Burge, David A. Katerndahl, Johanna Becho, Robert Wood, Jasmine Rodriguez, Robert Ferrer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective. This research team uses complexity science to gain a deeper understanding of daily dynamics of intimate partner violence (IPV). This report describes research methods for gathering daily information about patterns of partner violence and alcohol use from couples in near-real time, and addresses recruitment and retention, adherence to study protocol, data validity, and participant safety. Methods. Researchers enrolled 20 heterosexual couples with violent relationships from a primary healthcare center. Every day for 8 weeks, participants telephoned an interactive voice response (IVR) system and responded to 33 survey questions assessing violence, alcohol use, and household environment. They also completed baseline and end-of-study surveys. Results. Of 20 enrolled couples, 15 completed the study, providing 90% adherence to daily reporting. Participants reported verbal aggression on an average of 11-13 days over 8 weeks, and physical abuse on an average of 2-4 days. Alcohol use was modest and infrequent. Women and men differed in their reports of women's physical aggression. No reports of physical violence were correlated with social desirability. Conclusions. We demonstrated the feasibility of enrolling and engaging both women and men in daily longitudinal research about partner violence and described advantages of IVR in daily longitudinal research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-156
Number of pages21
JournalViolence and Victims
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


  • Alcohol use
  • Domestic violence
  • Heterosexual couples
  • Research methodology
  • Telephone data collection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law


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