By Marc Galanter, Henri Begleiter
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Extra info for Alcohol and violence: epidemiology, neurobiology, psychology, family issues
These include effects on coordination, eye movements, cognition, and judgment. There are also “expectancy” effects: behavior may change when someone thinks they have been drinking or when they think others have. Within the literature there is considerable debate over the importance of pharmacological and cultural effects, a debate that sometimes borders on the ideological. In analyzing alcohol and violent events, we are typically concerned with distinguishing the acute effects of alcohol from the chronic or long-term effects.
Whatever the explanation, these two studies underscore the difficulty in obtaining consistent estimates of alcohol involvement in criminal events even when research designs are similar and studies are restricted to one type of criminal event. The Amir35 study has gathered the most complete data on alcohol presence in rape events, although the study is not primarily focused on alcohol use and some of the quantitative analysis is relatively poor. At the time the Amir research was carried out, its value lay in the fact that it expanded the focus of the investigation of criminal behavior beyond the offender to the event and its situational and social context.
Looking at only a single type of violent act, such as assault, a number of physically and socially different acts are implicated: the threat of assault, assault with a deadly weapon, assault accompanied by physical injury. The same objective act may be characterized as directed against a spouse, a child, or in war. Violent acts can also be typologized by how they are subjectively perceived. Perhaps the single most important typology of violent acts is achieved by dividing those that are legal from those that are not.