Brandi C. Fink, Ph.D.,
Eric Claus, Ph.D.,
James F. Cavanagh, Ph.D.,
Derek A. Hamilton, Ph.D.,
Daniel Barto, M.S.
University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Mind Research Network, Albuquerque, New Mexico, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
We believe that alcohol may be related to the increase in frequency and severity of IPV through a process of over-arousal that results from the cortically and psychophysiological arousing effects of alcohol during the ascending limb of intoxication and at peak BAC compounded by the unique behavioral and affective patterns of violent couples. The first aim of this ongoing study is to determine if increases in arousal after alcohol exposure was potentiated by evocative partner stimuli and was greater for distressed violent (DV) partners than distressed nonviolent (DNV) partners. A second aim is to determine if alcohol induced arousal interfered with DV partnersâ€™ ability to regulate emotion in response to evocative partner stimuli compared to DNV partners.
UNM Clinical and Translational Science Center
The study is an experimental comparison of the effects of alcohol on arousal and emotion regulation between 35 DV and 35 DNV partners. To test the overall hypothesis that over-arousal is a mechanism through which alcohol is associated with increases in the frequency and severity of IPV, the selected partners participate in a counter-balanced placebo session and an alcohol administration session during which electroencephalography, psychophysiology and pupillary response measurements of arousal are collected during an emotion regulation task. The data are analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA with a between-subjects factor.
We expect to find that DV partners experience significantly greater arousal than DNV partners during the evocative stimuli condition. We also expect to find that DV partners experience greater difficulty regulating emotion during evocative stimuli than DNV partners and that this effect is compounded during the alcohol administration condition.
Findings from this study will provide firm evidence that alcohol is associated with IPV through a mechanism of over-arousal andÂ will provide key targets for intervention to prevent future IPV.