The Impact of Alcohol On Different Types of Violent Incidents

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This research article, uses quantitative research, as a means of investigation. The use of quantitative data , allows for expressive data analysis, based on the presentation of a statistical outline of data (Adler & Clarke, 2008, p.14). The article, makes use of descriptive statistics, as tables and graphs, to illustrate the nature of the interaction between alcohol and different types of violence. The utilisation of descriptive statistics in a research study, provides for the illustration of a situation, showing how variables interact (Gray, 2009, p.35).

On identification of the research question in a research article, it becomes apparent to the reader what specific topic or idea the researcher is attempting to address, through their research (Adler & Clarke, 2008, p.69). The research question in this research article is 'whether intoxication is a greater risk factor for some types of violence than for other types' (Felson, Burchfield and Teasdale, 2007, p.1057). This research question fits into the correlative research question category (Gray, 2009, p.134). Meaning that it is attempting to establish what the relationship is between variables (Gray, 2009, p.134).

The research article includes one theoretical framework in agreement with their own. As well as, an opposing theoretical framework. These frameworks provide evidence in answering the research question, whether intoxication is a greater risk factor for some types of violence rather than others (Adler & Clarke, 2008, p.20). The dependent variable in this research study, was alcohol use by offenders. The independent variables were, the gender of the offender, whether the incident of violence was sexual or physical assault and the offenders relationship to the victim (Adler & Clark, 2008, p.23). The dependent variable, alcohol use by offenders, was not considered causal. Thus the relationship between the Independent and dependent variables was spurious, meaning the relationship is not caused by one or the other(Adler, 2008, p.26). The researchers stated that this is because it is more logical that alcohol consumption has differing affects on different types of violence. Thus alcohol could not be said to be the direct cause of violence.

The first theory in the research article, is based on a study in a Canadian city, reported on by Pernann and Sampson. The study founded support for the notion, that the consumption of alcohol, plays a greater role in assaults on strangers, than people who know each other. As strangers do not have as much to fight about as people who know each other. Thus people are less likely to assault a stranger, unless under the influence of alcohol. On the other hand, individuals who know each other, have a greater likelihood of serious grievances, which affect potential incidences of violence, even if they are not drinking alcohol. The study showed that offenders were more likely to have been consuming alcohol in incidents of assaults with strangers, than people they already knew.

In opposition to this, evidence from a National Crime Victimisation Survey and National Incident Based Reporting System, found a different pattern for violent offences. Data from the NCVS suggests that offenders who commit sexual assault are more likely to be drinking alcohol than offenders who commit physical assault. Further to this, Roizen suggests that a greater percentage of offenders committed sexual offences, who had been drinking alcohol at the time of the offence. In addition to this, Brecklin and Ullmann, found in their studies that offenders are more likely to be drinking in sexual assaults on strangers than people they knew. Secondly, a group of college students found in their study that males who sexually assaulted strangers, acquaintances and casual dates were more likely to be drinking at the time of the offence, than those who sexually assaulted people they knew. The theoretical framework, presented in the research article is appropriate. As it directly relates to the research question. The purpose of the use of theoretical frameworks, is to assist researchers in determining what should be researched and what should be disregarded (Gray, 2009, p.264). Theoretical frameworks often direct researchers, on formulating research questions and study purposes, as well as, providing for comparisons of theory at research analysis stage (Gray, 2009, p.264).

Before undertaking research, a hypothesis is constructed, which can be tested through research and forecasts the relationship between variables (Gray, 2009, p.137). The researchers in this article, hypothesized 'that offenders would be more likely to be drinking when they assaulted strangers than when they assaulted people they knew' (Felson,, 2007, p.1059).

The research design used in this research study, was successful in answering the research question. The researchers did not conduct any primary research themselves for this study. Instead, they made use of available data, in the form of existing statistics and data collected from survey respondents during the The National Violence Against Women and Men Survey (NVAW) (Adler & Clarke, 2008, p.345). As noted by Adler and Clarke (2008, p.345) around 40 percent of research, which is based on secondary source data, utilises data collection from surveys obtained from others. It is likely that the researchers in this study chose this particular research method due to feasibility and access considerations (Adler and Clarke, 2008, p.88). It is sometimes more practical to complete a research study, where access to required information to answer the research question

is readily available, in terms of time constraints and monetary considerations (Adler & Clarke, 2008, p.88).

The NVAW survey collected data from respondents in 1995 and 1996, using a nationally probability sample, which included 8,000 women and 8,000 men, aged 18 years and over (Adler & Clarke, 2008, p.102). This gave each member of the female and male population, aged over 18 years a known chance of selection for the survey (Adler & Clarke, 2008, p.102). The survey respondents were asked about incidents involving sexual assault since childhood and physical assault during their adult years. Respondents were asked to respond to questions regarding the most recent incidents of assault. Respondents were able to report on the six most recent incidents of physical assault , as well as the six most recent incidents of sexual assault. However, data analysis was restricted to the first three incidents of each of the categories of assault. This method of data analysis was chosen because theses incidents had occurred most recently and had less data missing.

Measurement error was a concern reported on by the researchers, in using the data obtained from the NVAW survey. The researchers noted that errors in the measurement of whether offenders were drinking alcohol at the time of the assault, were likely to be present, due to the reliance on victim reports (Adler & Clark, 2008, p.229). The issue of errors in the research, was caused due to the fact that victims may not have known if offenders had been drinking at the time of the offence. However, the researchers stated that measurement error would have no affect on the type of assault, the gender of the offender, or the relationship between the victim and offender variables. To combat the possibility of measurement errors, the researchers used a hierarchal liner design for statistical analysis, which is an efficient model for studies with missing data and data represented by categories (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002, p.31). Hierarchal liner designs can be utilised where the assumption of the independence of observations are not met and a regular form of statistical analysis cannot be used (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002, p.20). As the researchers were able to overcome problems with the analysis of their data, their research design can be considered successful, in regards to completing the study.

The results of the research, were presented clearly in tables and graphs. Tables were used to show statistics for the incidents reported during the NVAW, and present a hierarchal liner model which predicts offender intoxication. Graphs were used to illustrate the relationship between alcohol use by the gender of the offender and the victim offender relationship. As well as, to show the relationship between the victim and the offender and the type of assault. Each part of the research results was discussed in a clear and effective manner.

In summary, the results obtained by the researchers support the hypothesis 'that offenders are much more likely to be drinking when they physically assault strangers than people they knew'

(Felson,, 2007, p.1065). This finding is consistent with the research conducted by Pernann and Sampson. The evidence obtained from the research study did not support the hypothesis 'that offenders who sexually assault people they know are particularly likely to be drinking' (Felson,, 2007, p.1064). However the results showed that offenders were only slightly more likely to be consuming alcohol when they sexually assaulted strangers, rather than people they knew. This led the researchers to conduct a separate analysis of sexual assaults, which revealed the difference to be insignificant, based on the analysis of the statistics.

Further to this, the evidence obtained by the researchers is not consistent with Roizen's research, which demonstrated that physical assault offenders are less likely to be under the influence of alcohol than sexual assault offenders. The research results obtained from this study were also non- consistent with Brecklin and Ullmann's research, that demonstrated that offenders are more likely to be drinking when they sexually assault strangers. However, the researchers note that the research undertaken by Brecklin and Ullmann was based on data from the NCVS, which used a more restricted interpretation of the term stranger. The restriction of this definition could have led to a difference in research results.

The research study was successful in answering the research question. The results demonstrated that alcohol can be a contributing factor to any act of violence. However, it was found that the consumption of alcohol is more greatly attributed to some acts of violence as opposed to others. The results found that the consumption of alcohol increases the chances of physical assault on strangers and is least influential on assaults in an intimate relationship. This was attributed by the researchers, to the varying nature of conflict in different types of relationships. The researchers acknowledged that there may be other explanations for the different nature of violence in relationships, but stipulated that the patterns of violence discovered in their research, was an essential element in any discussion of the role of alcohol in acts of violence.