Author(s): Shepherd JP, Sutherland I, Newcombe RG
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Compared to links between alcohol and aggression, links between alcohol and vulnerability are poorly understood. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether there is a significant relationship between vulnerability to physical violence and alcohol consumption in adolescence independent of a relationship between alcohol consumption and violent behaviour. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: Cross-sectional study of 4187 adolescents aged 11-16 in a stratified sample of 13 English schools. RESULTS: Fighting decreased with age whereas hitting others and being hit increased. Relationships between fighting, hitting others and vulnerability to being hit and frequency of drinking and drunkenness were all highly significant (p<0.0001), and were evident at all ages. The outcome most strongly related to frequency of drunkenness was hitting others (odds ratio (OR) 6.62), followed by being hit (OR 4.01) and fighting (OR 2.10). Alcohol consumption and drunkenness remained significantly and independently associated with vulnerability to being hit after adjusting for violent behaviour as well as age and sex. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate an association between alcohol and victimization independent of associations of both with physical aggression. Reducing intoxication may reduce victimisation without necessarily affecting violent behaviour. Violence reduction should focus as much on preventing alcohol misuse among victims or potential victims as among offenders.
This article was published in J Adolesc
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy