Involvement in alcohol-related verbal or physical aggression. Does social status matter?

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION -The analyses (1) assessed the association between social status variables and aggression when controlling for volume of alcohol consumption and episodic heavy drinking (EHD), (2) tested whether social status moderates the association between volume or EHD and verbal as well as physical aggression, and (3) investigated whether EHD moderates the effect of volume on aggression. METHODS - Swedish Alcohol Monitoring Survey (2003 to 2011); N=104,316 current drinkers; response rate: 51 to 38%. Alcohol-related aggression was defined as involvement in a quarrel or physical fight while drinking. Social status was defined as the highest education, monthly income and marital status. RESULTS - The associations between social status variables and aggression showed mixed results. Verbal aggression was associated with education in males and with marital status in both genders. Physical aggression was associated with education in both genders. No associations with aggression were found for income. With few exceptions, these associations remained significant when controlling for drinking patterns; social status did not moderate the association between drinking and aggression; EHD moderated the effect of volume on physical aggression in males. CONCLUSIONS - Groups of lower educated and nonmarried individuals experience verbal or physical aggression over and above different levels of consumption. Individual differences in aggression vulnerability rather than differences in aggression predisposition account for higher risks of aggression in these groups.

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