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Young adulthood is an important developmental period for investigating the nature of violent behavior. This study examines the unique contribution of alcohol use to violence perpetration among young adults in the Australian community, after accounting for the influence of sociodemographic, early life, trait, and well-being influences. Cross-sectional, self-report data was collected from 507 young adults aged 18-20 years in the Australian general community via an online survey. Sequential logistic regressions examined the relative and independent contribution of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), impulsivity, psychological distress, and hazardous alcohol use to past-year violent behavior. Results show one in eight young adults aged 18-20 (13%) reported at least one act of violent behavior in the past year, primarily assault perpetrated against another person. Sequential logistic regression identified that after controlling for other risk factors, the number of ACEs reported and hazardous alcohol use were independently and positively associated with increased odds of reporting violent behavior in young adulthood. These findings demonstrate that ACEs and hazardous alcohol use are important, independent correlates of violent behavior in young adults. While preventing early adversity is key for reducing violence in the community, this evidence suggests that it is also important to target proximal causes such as hazardous alcohol use. Increasing early and widespread access to evidence-based, trauma-informed violence-prevention programs targeting risk factors across multiple settings is critical for reducing harm and supporting young people into healthy adulthood.


Siobhan Lawler, Lexine Stapinski, Maree Teesson, Katrina Prior, Miguel Basto-Pereira, Nicola Newton, Emma L Barrett. Unpacking Violent Behavior in Young Adulthood: The Relative Importance of Hazardous Alcohol Use. Journal of interpersonal violence. 2022 Oct;37(19-20):NP18935-NP18959

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PMID: 34715761

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