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Research Proposal on Does Alcohol Abuse Leads To Domestic Violence

Research Proposal

Introduction/Research Question/Problem Statement

Domestic violence happens in all cultures, people of all races, ethnicities and religions. It occurs and perpetrated by, on and both women and men, occurring not only in the opposite-sex but also in the same-sex relationship (Wikipedia, 2006). But what is domestic violence? How does it occur? Wikipedia (2006) defines domestic violence as a physical, sexual, economic or psychological abuse directed towards one's spouse, partner or other family member within the household.

On one hand, the CAFCASS in the United Kingdom uses domestic violence to refer to a range of violent and abusive behavior in its Domestic Violence Policy. Accordingly, it states that the domestic violence is "patterns of behavior characterized by the misuse of power and control by one person over another who are or have been in an intimate relationship. It can occur in mixed gender relationships and same gender relationships and has profound consequences for the lives of children, individuals, families and communities. It may be physical, sexual, emotional and/or psychological. The latter may include intimidation, harassment and damage to property, threats and financial abuse." (as cited in Wikipedia, 2006)

Moreover, it is define as an abusive behavior - emotional, psychological, physical or sexual - that one person in an intimate relationship uses in order to control the other by the New York State Coalition. Similarly, it takes many different forms including the behavior such as threats, name-calling, withholding money, preventing contact with family or friends, sexual assault and actual or threatened physical harm. (as cited in Wikipedia, 2006)

There are many different theories as to the grounds of domestic violence. However, no one approach appears to cover all cases as with many phenomena regarding human experience. On one hand, statistics suggest that the increasing numbers of domestic violence are being fueled by alcohol use of the abusive partner. According to Dr. David Smith (1997) in his speech at the annual conference of Physicians for a Violence Free Society, "50 percent of all domestic violence which ends in death correlates with alcohols and/or drug use at the time of the assault, with alcohol and methamphetamines being the primary drugs of abuse".

This shows that domestic violence and substance abuse such as alcohol seem to go hand in hand. Conversely, we all know that thousands of people drink but never commits acts of violence to a stranger and most especially to their loved one. So, how are these two very distinct and different problems connected if a direct-cause or one-to-one relationship between domestic violence and alcohol abuse does not exist. Thus, the query whether alcohol abuse really leads to domestic violence arises. (Smith, 1997)

Initial Review of Related Literature

Despite a lack of information to support that alcoholism causes domestic violence such belief is a notion widely held both in and outside of the substance abuse field (Straus & Gelles, 1990). Similarly, there is little evidence to suggest a clear pattern that relates the drinking to the abusive behavior even for batterers who do drink. There is also no evidence to suggest that alcohol use or dependence is linked to the other forms of coercive behaviors that are part of the pattern of domestic violence. The majority of physically abusive incidents which accounts the 76 percent occur in the absence of alcohol use. The part of batterer's ongoing pattern of abuse such as economic control, sexual violence and intimidation have little or no identifiable connection to his use of or dependence on alcohol. (Kantor & Straus, 1987),

The lack of information about the nature of this abuse and the adherence to the disinhibition theory which suggests that the physiological effects of alcohol include a state of lowered inhibitions in which an individual can no longer control his behavior developed the belief that alcoholism causes domestic violence. However, the research conducted within the alcoholism field suggests that the most significant determinant of behavior after drinking is not the physiological effect of the alcohol itself, but the expectation that individuals place on the drinking experience. (Marlatt & Rohsenow, 1980)

The belief that alcohol lowers inhibitions persists and along with it a historical tradition of holding people who commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is less accountable than those who commit crimes in a sober state despite such research findings. In the same way, batterers find themselves less accountable for battering perpetrated when they are under the influence of alcohol. This shows that alcohol provides a ready and socially acceptable excuse for their violence. (MacAndrew & Edgerton, 1969)

On the other hand, research shows a high correlation between alcohol abuse and incidents of violence. It was found out in a study of 53 male alcoholics that 75 percent of them reported a history of violent behavior and attempted suicide. This clearly indicates that domestic violence is most often a male issue. (Bolduc, 2006)

Besides, there are statistics suggesting that the increasing numbers of domestic violence cases are being fueled by drug and alcohol use by the abusive partner. This is manifested by the Personal Safety Survey - 2006 of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The survey shows that those who have experienced violence in the past 12 months, alcohol or other drugs were involved in: 75.3 percent of instances where a male was assaulted by another male, 49.8 percent of instances where a male was assaulted by a female, 50.6 percent of instances where a female was assaulted by another female and 48.5 percent of instances where a female was assaulted by a male. (as cited in Wikipedia, 2006)

Also, from this study, of all the instances of physical assault in the past 12 months, 25.1 percent of males and 16.4 percent of females were assaulted in licensed premises. This further suggests the negative association between alcohol and violence. Additionally, Bancroft (2006) has observed that a substance abuse often occurs in conjunction with domestic violence. (as cited in Wikipedia, 2006)

Methodology/Analysis of Result/Conclusion

This study will employ the descriptive research method which uses observation, interviews and surveys. In this method, it is possible that the study will be convenient and quick since it aims to know whether alcohol abuse really leads to domestic violence. To illustrate the descriptive type of research, Creswell (1994) will guide the researcher when he stated that the descriptive method of research is gathering information about the present existing condition. Generally, the purpose of employing this method is to describe the nature of a situation, as it exists at the time of the study and to explore the cause/s of particular phenomena. The researcher opted to use this kind of research considering the desire of the researcher to obtain first hand information from the interviewees so as to formulate rational and sound conclusions and recommendations for the study.

To come up with pertinent findings and to provide credible recommendations, this study will utilise two sources of research: primary and secondary. The primary source of information will come from a semi-structured questionnaire and interviews which will be conducted by the researcher in accordance to question whether alcohol abuse leads to domestic violence. On the other hand, the secondary sources of data will be based from published articles of journals, books and related studies on alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

After the collection of information from semi-structure questionnaire, interviews and related studies, the researcher will collates all the data. The statistical analysis for the information from semi-structure questionnaire will be conducted using Microsoft Excel where the data is tabulated, graphed and evaluated. The testing of the level of significance will be accomplished using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and tabulated in the Excel files. The SPSS is the standard software in conducting statistical analysis (Guilford, J.P. and B. Fruchter 1973). Then, findings and conclusions will be formulated.


Bolduc, B. (2006, November 22). PREVENTION IS KEY TO STEMMING VIOLENCE, SUBSTANCE ABUSE. Cochrane Eagle. Retrieved December 5, 2006, from

Creswell, J.W. (1994). Research Design: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage.

Guilford, J.P. and B. Fruchter (1973). Fundamental Statistics in Psychology and Education, 5th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Kantor, G.K., and Straus, M.A. (1987). "The Drunken Bum' Theory of Wife Beating." Social Problems.

MacAndrew, C., and Edgerton, R.B. (1969). Drunken Comportment: A Social Explanation. Chicago: Aldine.

Marlatt, G.A., and Rohsenow, D. J. (1980) . "Cognitive Processes in Alcohol Use: Expectancy and the Balanced Placebo Design. InAdvances in Substance Abuse Behavioral and Biological Research. (N. Mello, Ed.).

Greenwich, CT: Jai.

Straus, M.A., and Gelles, R.J. (1990). Physical Violence in American Families. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

Wikipedia. (2006 , December 5). Domestic violence. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved December 5, 2006, from


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