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Higher number of alcohol selling outlets blamed for increase domestic violence

The number of shops selling alcohol in a given area, also known as alcohol outlet density, has also been associated by past research to several negative social and health consequences. Among these consequences is intimate partner violence or IPV.

Just recently, a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism showed that occurrences of male-to-female partner violence (MFPV) are higher in areas with a high AOD.
The researchers found that an additional 10 outlets per 10,000 people resulted to a 34% rise in the risks for MFPV.

Lead author Christy McKinney of the University of Texas School of Public Health explained that her team used three set of data on individual and couple demographics and economic census reports. They analyzed these data and studied the relationship of AOD and intimate partner violence, which can either be male-to-female partner violence (MFPV) or female-to-male partner violence (FMPV). McKinney and her colleagues also looked into role of alcohol related problems on the said relationship. Their theory was that greater availability of alcohol increased drinking, which could increased the occurrence of IPV.

McKinney and her team also observed that the relationship of alcohol availability with MFPV was more pronounced among couples with alcohol-related problems than those who did not experience such problems. McKinney, however, explains that it is hard to determine which between MFPV and alcohol-related problems came first because of the cross-sectional nature of their study.

Paul Gruenewald of the Prevention Research Center noted that the findings of this study are significant in that they show the roles played by alcoholic outlets in problems of the community. “With this study we get the first indication that, at least for men, greater availability of alcohol from bars and other on-premise drinking places may be linked to domestic violence. This is a troubling observation because drinking at bars, for example, has also been linked to greater rates of child abuse and other forms of violence in our communities,” he explained.

Gruenewald also called to attention the need to fully identify the specific roles of alcohol outlets to male and female partner violence. He said that there is a “need to identify how these drinkers use outlets, determine how the use of outlets disinhibits constraints on partner violence, and assess the ways in which more outlets increase these risks.” McKinney, on the other hand, hopes that their research would help to guide policy makers in regulating alcohol availability.

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