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Alcohol Expectancies and Intoxicated Aggression

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 11 Issue: 5 Dated: September-October 2006 Pages: 484-496
Brian M. Quigley; Kenneth E. Leonard
Date Published
September 2006
13 pages
This review of the research literature on the effects of a person's beliefs about behavior while intoxicated and that person's aggression when intoxicated focuses on whether individuals believe alcohol causes aggression, whether intoxication lessens blame for harmful behavior, and whether having a belief about the link between intoxication and aggression contributes to a person's being aggressive when intoxicated.
Research has generally found that people do believe that intoxication causes aggressive behavior; however, they tend to believe that aggressive behavior while intoxicated is more likely to occur with other people than with themselves. Research has not conclusively shown that people believe they are less culpable for bad behavior while intoxicated than when they are sober. Research has found that belief in the link between intoxication and aggression increases the likelihood that a person will behave aggressively when intoxicated, but only under circumstances and environments that encourage or facilitate an aggressive response. This suggests that both a belief about alcohol's effects on aggression and beliefs about the appropriateness of aggression under various circumstances contribute to the risk for aggressive behavior while intoxicated. A model that unites beliefs about alcohol and beliefs about circumstances when aggression is appropriate has yet to be tested in research. There is some evidence that an individual's personality characteristics also influence behavior when intoxicated. Relevant personality characteristics may be anger-management skills, empathy, and irritability. How individual characteristics may interact with beliefs about behavior while intoxicated is also currently unknown. 76 references


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