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Link between drinking and violence

The National Institutes of Health recently gave Georgia State associate psychology professor Dominic Parrott and Christopher Eckhardt of Purdue University a $2.6 million grant to administer a five-year study that will analyze the relationship associated with alcohol intoxication and domestic violence.

“I think it is rare to have a 50/50 partnership in grant collaborations,” said Parrott. “This is truly one of them.”

After phone calls and closely associated ideas, Parrot and Eckhardt are partnering in this large study. In order to effectively obtain results, the research study will include both researchers recruiting 1,000 heterosexual couples in the Atlanta and Indianapolis areas.  One of the partners participates in heavy drinking.

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The grant was based on two ideas: mechanisms linked to heavy drinking, such as the sequence of events after intoxication, and alcohol-related intimate partner violence.

“There is a strong need for research in this area,” Parrott said. “There are a small number of researchers that study the effects of alcohol and substance abuse on partner violence.”

The motivation for Parrott and Eckhardt’s study is to not only intervene and treat alcohol-related violence in individual members within couples, but to also try to eliminate the violence.

According to Parrott, the mechanisms of alcohol-related violence have been assumed by past researchers, but have yet to be fully examined.

“The interventions for alcohol-related intimate partner violence are based on theories,” Parrott said. “But there are key parts of those theories that have not been tested yet.”

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In all studies, research is susceptible to potential problems and challenges. Parrott lists recruitment as the only potential challenge in this study.

In order to efficiently collaborate in this study, Parrott and Eckhardt plan to greatly utilize multiple mediums of communication and also built travelling expenses within their budget.

“We may travel back in forth to make sure everything matches here and there,” said Parrott. “What happens here and what happens there has to be the same.”

Research has grown  and grants such as Parrott and Eckhardt’s enhance positivity at Georgia State.

“The attention that comes with a large grant reward can only reflect positively on Georgia State,” Parrott said. “It will highlight to others in the field that there are people at Georgia State doing cutting-edge work on violence in general.”

This study, among past and current research studies, helps to raise the research profile at Georgia State, as well as Purdue University, which attracts more undergraduate and graduate students according to Parrott.

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