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The impact of alcohol-related violence on individuals and society continues to receive attention from both media and policy makers. However, the longitudinal relationship between alcohol consumption and violence is unclear, with findings from prospective studies producing mixed results. The current study utilized Australian data from the International Youth Development Study to examine longitudinal relationships between alcohol consumption and severe interpersonal violence across the developmental periods of early adolescence to late adolescence/emerging adulthood. The full sample comprised 849 adolescents (53.8 % female) who had been followed up over a 5 year period, from Grade 7 secondary school (age 13) until Grade 11 secondary school (age 17). Cross-lagged path analysis was used to examine reciprocal relationships between alcohol consumption and interpersonal violence; analyses controlled for a range of covariates considered to be common risk factors for both behaviors. Alcohol use during early and mid adolescence was found to predict violence 2 years later, whereas a bi-directional relationship between adolescent heavy episodic drinking and violence was observed. Some of these relationships were not significant when covariates such as family conflict and affiliation with antisocial and drug using friends were included in the models. These findings suggest that risk processes begin in late childhood or very early adolescence; efforts to reduce one problem behavior are likely to reduce the other. Further, the role that social and family contexts have in influencing the relationships between alcohol use and interpersonal violence should be considered in future research to better inform preventive efforts.
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- A Longitudinal Study of the Reciprocal Effects of Alcohol Use and Interpersonal Violence Among Australian Young People
Kirsty E. Scholes-Balog
Sheryl A. Hemphill
John W. Toumbourou
- Springer US