Psychosocial variables and risk of severe violence in couples with substance abuse and previous maltreatment

Pedro Javier Amor, Isaura A. Bohórquez, Paz De Corral, Juan Carlos Oria


The aim of this ex post facto study was to investigate what variables are related to severe intimate partner violence (IPV), in a sample of 90 couples attending a community treatment program for drug abusers. Multiple variables were analyzed: Sociodemographic characteristics, couple’s relationship, maltreatment circumstances, some characteristics of aggressors and victims, as well as sexual, physical or psychological abuses and type of substance abuse. Results showed high scores in the severe IPV risk prediction scale. The victims were classified as high-risk (26%), moderate-risk (59%) and low-risk (15%), depending on the cutoff scores in the revised scale. The variables more related to risk severe violence of IPV were: Couples in which both use drugs or both heavy drinking of alcohol, heroin abuse by the perpetrator, presence of sexual abuse, lack of social and family support and less economic autonomy from the victims, and others characteristics of the aggressor (ie., harassment behaviors, violates a restraining order) and maltreatment circumstances. The variables identified could be useful in predicting the risk of lethal or severe violence in relationships where one or both members have problems with drugs.


Partner violence, Risk factors, Drug abuse



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