Do Alcohol and Marijuana Increase the Risk for Female Dating Violence Victimization? A Prospective Daily Diary Investigation

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Objective: Dating violence is a serious and prevalent problem, with females being victimized by partners at high rates with numerous negative health consequences. Previous research has been equivocal on whether substance use on the part of the victim temporally precedes and, thus, increases the odds of victimization. Although the sole responsibility for violence is always with the perpetrator, knowing this information could provide useful information for theory as well as interventions designed to keep women safe. Method: Participants were female college students in a current dating relationship who had consumed alcohol in the previous month (N = 173). Students completed daily surveys on their violence victimization, alcohol use, and marijuana use for up to 90 consecutive days. Results: On any drinking days, heavy drinking days, and as the number of alcoholic drinks consumed increased, women were more likely to be victimized by psychological, physical, and sexual dating violence. Marijuana use also preceded and increased the odds of sexual victimization. Relationship length moderated some of these temporal associations, such that the odds of victimization on a drinking day, or marijuana use day, were increased for participants in longer relationships. Conclusions: Findings underscore the importance of considering the role that alcohol and marijuana use play in increasing the risk for dating violence victimization among women. Intervention programs for dating violence may benefit by attempting to decrease substance use to reduce risk for female victims.

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