The development of an evidence based assessment protocol for intimate partner violence in the U.S. Army.
BACKGROUND This study examines the relationship between typical weekly drinking and perpetration of spouse abuse as well as the relationship between the perpetrator's typical weekly drinking and alcohol use during the abuse event among U.S. Army male soldiers. METHODS Cases include all active duty, male, enlisted Army spouse abusers identified in the Army's Central Registry who had also completed an Army Health Risk Appraisal Survey (HRA) between 1991 and 1998 (N = 9534). Cases were matched on sex, rank, and marital status with 21,786 control subjects who had also completed an HRA. RESULTS In multivariate logistic regression models, heavy drinkers (22 or more drinks per week) were 66% more likely to be spouse abusers than were abstainers (odds ratio 1.66; 95% confidence interval 1.40-1.96). In addition, self-reported moderate and heavy drinkers were three times as likely and light drinkers (1-7 drinks per week) were twice as likely as nondrinkers to be drinking during the time of the abuse event. CONCLUSION Self-reported heavy drinking is an independent risk factor for perpetration of spouse abuse among male, enlisted Army soldiers. Even 5 years or more after ascertainment of typical drinking habits, there is a significant association between self-reported heavy drinking and alcohol involvement at the time of the spouse abuse event. Personnel who work with perpetrators and victims of spouse abuse should be trained carefully to query about current and typical drinking patterns.