Antisocial Traits, Distress Tolerance, and Alcohol Problems as Predictors of Intimate Partner Violence in Men Arrested for Domestic Violence

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Abstract

Objective: Men with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) traits are at an increased risk for consuming alcohol and perpetrating intimate partner violence (IPV). However, previous research has neglected malleable mechanisms potentially responsible for the link between ASPD traits, alcohol problems, and IPV perpetration. Efforts to improve the efficacy of batterer intervention programs (BIPs) would benefit from exploration of such malleable mechanisms. The present study is the 1st to examine distress tolerance as 1 such mechanism linking men’s ASPD traits to their alcohol problems and IPV perpetration. Method: Using a cross-sectional sample of 331 men arrested for domestic violence and court-referred to BIPs, the present study used structural equation modeling to examine pathways from men’s ASPD traits to IPV perpetration directly and indirectly through distress tolerance and alcohol problems. Results: Results supported a 2-chain partial mediational model. ASPD traits were related to psychological aggression perpetration directly and indirectly via distress tolerance and alcohol problems. A 2nd pathway emerged by which ASPD traits related to higher levels of alcohol problems, which related to psychological aggression perpetration. Controlling for psychological aggression perpetration, neither distress tolerance nor alcohol problems explained the relation between ASPD traits and physical assault perpetration. Conclusion: These results support and extend existing conceptual models of IPV perpetration. Findings suggest intervention efforts for IPV should target both distress tolerance and alcohol problems.

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