U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

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

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Dated: 2020
Date Published

This study examined whether the effects of alcohol misuse on intimate partner violence (IPV) aggression vary as a function of women’s motivations for using aggression.


The link 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 using IPV aggression (e.g., self-defense, control) as an underlying mechanism that explains this link. In examining this issue, the current study focused on 412 ethnically diverse community women between the ages of 18 and 65 who were 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 providing better informed intervention that addressed the underlying reasons women use IPV aggression. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2020