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Study finds college domestic violence often tied to alcohol

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, underage college drinking and abuse are public health problems. The NIAAA reports that 80 percent of college students drink alcohol and that half of them had at least one binge drinking episode in the last two weeks.

Besides the obvious health and other related risks to the young imbibers, there are other concerns. According to a study by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, men are more likely to commit acts of psychological, sexual or physical aggression against their partners when they are under the influence of alcohol than men who had used marijuana.

The effects of alcohol on women included being more psychologically and physically aggressive; however, for women who used marijuana, they were more likely than men to become psychologically aggressive.

The participants in two studies included college women and men who had consumed alcohol within the last month, were involved in a relationship that lasted for at least 30 days, had contact face-to-face with their partners at least twice a week and were at least 18. The study participants were required to complete a diary online each day for 90 days.

The use of marijuana "was unrelated to violence between intimate partners." However, the study found that women were more likely to be psychologically aggressive toward their partner when they used pot. For men, on days when five or more alcoholic drinks were consumed, the risk of psychological abuse also increased. Any alcohol consumption, though, among men caused an increase in sexual and physical abuse.

While researchers believe that it is still too soon to draw conclusions about intimate violence and marijuana use, there have been enough studies to show that alcohol does increase the risk for violence among intimate partners.

Domestic violence is a serious crime and can have significant consequences. Penalties may include jail time, fines, probation and being denied gun ownership. In addition, those facing domestic violence charges could have difficulties with child custody cases or have restraining orders filed against them.

While the study may have targeted college students, domestic violence does not just affect married couples. Any intimate partner, family member or even those who are unrelated and living in the same Colorado household may be subject to domestic violence charges, depending on the incident. Understanding your legal rights when charged with this crime is the first step toward building a defense.

Source: psychcentral.com, "Alcohol Tied to Campus Domestic Violence – Pot, Not So Much" Rick Nauert Phd, Jan. 28, 2014

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