Alcohol Policies and Alcohol Involvement in Intimate Partner Homicide in the U.S.
Significance of the study
This is the first study to characterize alcohol involvement among both primary and corollary victims of Intimate partner violence (IPV) homicide, and to examine the relationship between more-restrictive alcohol policy environments and the odds of alcohol involvement among IPV homicide victims.
In adjusted analyses, a 10–percentage point increase in Alcohol Policy Scale (APS) score was associated with a 23% reduced odds of any alcohol involvement among IPV homicide victims, with similar estimates among primary and corollary victims. Reduced odds of alcohol involvement in IPV homicides were also observed at higher BAC levels and was consistent across multiple sociodemographic subgroups.
In summary, this study finds that a substantial proportion of IPV homicides involve alcohol, and suggests that enacting stricter alcohol policies may be a promising strategy to prevent alcohol-involved IPV homicide fatalities among both primary and corollary victims. As such, the alcohol policy environment should be considered a priority in the broader discussion of IPV prevention and intervention efforts and future research. Examples of effective alcohol control policies include increasing alcohol taxes, reducing alcohol outlet density, and restricting hours of sales.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) results in deaths of both primary and corollary (i.e., nonintimate partner) victims. Alcohol use is a known risk factor for IPV, yet the relationship between alcohol policies and IPV homicides is unclear. This repeated cross-sectional study characterizes alcohol involvement, and the relationship between alcohol policies and alcohol involvement, among victims of IPV homicides in the U.S.
Homicide victim data from 17 states in the National Violent Death Reporting System from 2003 to 2012 were analyzed in 2017–2018. Alcohol Policy Scale scores characterized alcohol policies by state year and were used in generalized estimating equation logistic regression models to predict the odds of alcohol involvement among victims of IPV homicide.
Among victims of IPV homicide, 36.5% of primary and 41.1% of corollary victims had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) >0.00%. Of the victims with a positive BAC, 67.6% had a BAC ≥0.08%.
In adjusted models, a 10% point increase in Alcohol Policy Scale score was associated with reduced odds of having a positive BAC and having a BAC ≥0.08% among all victims, primary victims, and corollary victims.
Alcohol use was prevalent among victims of IPV homicide, and more-restrictive alcohol policies were associated with reduced odds of alcohol involvement.
Strengthening alcohol policies is a promising strategy to reduce alcohol-involved IPV homicide victimization.