Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Alcoholism-Psychological aspects, Violent offenders-Alcohol use, Self-perception, Violence, Alcohol abuse, Addicted adults


While it is widely accepted that there is a positive correlation between alcohol use/abuse and violence, there is little consensus in the literature about the strength and nature of this association. Thus the need for more complex multivariate and qualitative studies has been recognized. This qualitative study explored what could be learned from a sample of men and women who are members of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and selfidentify as having engaged in violence while under the influence. For the vast majority of participants in this study, their violence came first; however, they first received treatment for their alcohol use/abuse. For these participants, their story of how their violence began was inextricably linked with the violence they experienced in childhood; and the only discernable demographic trend was a childhood history of violence and/or alcohol use/abuse. In contrast, a history of downward mobility as measured by the parents' education and occupation was the only discernable trend in participants where their alcohol use/abuse came first. This group also received treatment first for their use/abuse of alcohol and was only violent when abusing alcohol. Finally, the use of alcohol was associated with intense affect regulation that could work two ways: i.e., release the inhibition against violent behavior or suppress the urge to act violently. There is a need for future research to see if these trends are sustained.




[ii], 97 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 69-85)