Abstract: Alcohol and Marijuana Use As Consequences of Dating Aggression Among Young Adults (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

262 Alcohol and Marijuana Use As Consequences of Dating Aggression Among Young Adults

Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Charlene Collibee, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown University, Alpert Medical School, Providence, RI
Theories of dating aggression involvement etiology postulate a feedback loop wherein dating aggression involvement may also contribute to changes in risk factors. Through this increased risk, the subsequent threshold for aggression is then lower (Riggs & O’Leary, 1989). The examination of changes in risk factors following dating aggression involvement is especially pertinent as aggression is concurrently associated with risk factors themselves, such as alcohol use or marijuana use. Less work has empirically examined how dating aggression involvement predicts changes in risk factors in adolescence and young adulthood. The current study addresses this question by testing proximal changes in alcohol use and marijuana use following dating aggression involvement.

Six waves of community based data were collected from 120 participants (60 females) ages 18-25, within a romantic relationship. Electronic data collection occurred monthly, spanning six months. Participants were screened for prior dating aggression involvement in order to recruit a high risk sample. The measures used to assess relevant variables were: verbal, physical, and sexual dating aggression involvement (CTS2), alcohol use (AUDIT, SMAST, DDQ, NIAAA binge drinking), and marijuana use (Drug Involvement Scale for Adolescents).

To test our hypotheses regarding a feedback loop, multilevel models (MLMs) were used to assess changes in marijuana and alcohol use following dating aggression. The following model was used for each form of aggression involvement:

Level 1: Yi = β0 + β1(Age)+ β2(Relationship Length) + β3(Aggression Involvement) + β4 (Alcohol or Marijuana use Time 1) + ri

Level 2: β0 = γ00 + γ01(gender) + u0

β1 = γ10

β2 = γ20

β3 = γ30

β4 = γ40

Consistent with hypotheses, psychological aggression involvement was associated with an immediate increase in both alcohol use and marijuana use. Additionally, physical aggression was associated with an immediate increase in marijuana use.

The current study aimed to identify factors that may contribute to increased risk for future involvement in dating aggression. It tested the theoretical expectation of a feedback loop between dating aggression involvement and an increase in subsequent risk factors for aggression involvement, namely alcohol and marijuana use. The current study adds the literature by addressing proximal consequences of dating aggression that may reflect potential maladaptive coping. Discussion will address the potential use of marijuana and alcohol as self-medication, increasing the likelihood of substance use’s known risk for dating aggression involvement. Implications for both intervention and prevention programming will be addressed.