|Sharon Wilsnack helps write, edit book on alcohol and partner aggression|
A book on alcohol and partner aggression, written in part and edited by a medical school researcher Sharon Wilsnack, was launched recently at the headquarters of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Washington, D.C.
Wilsnack, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of clinical neuroscience, is one of four editors of the book, "Unhappy Hours: Alcohol and Physical Partner Aggression in the Americas," published in English and Spanish by PAHO.
The book reports analyses of how people's drinking, both men's and women's, is associated with partner aggression, as both victim and perpetrator, Wilsnack said. It provides an in-depth view of current research on partner aggression, and the role alcohol plays in the United States, Canada and eight Latin American countries.
"This important work adds to our knowledge about partner aggression, and may help to develop policy responses to preventing and addressing such violence in the United States, Canada and Latin American countries," Wilsnack said.
Findings reported in the book suggest that a person's level of alcohol consumption is strongly associated with being both the perpetrator and the victim of partner physical aggression, she said. The relationship between drinking pattern and partner aggression was especially strong among persons who reported that alcohol was involved in the most severe incident they had experienced in the past two years.
Consistent findings across all 10 countries included in the analyses suggest that the relationship between alcohol consumption and intimate partner violence is similar across diverse cultures and drinking patterns, she added.
"It's striking how consistently people's drinking was connected to their experiences of partner aggression," said Wilsnack, who, along with her colleagues, hopes the book's message reaches leaders in government and policy-makers. "If we can reduce heavy drinking, we may be able to reduce aggression between intimate partners."
The book launch event featured a panel discussion about intimate partner violence, addresses by the director of PAHO and other dignitaries, and a performance by a popular Latin American singer and recovering alcoholic.
Wilsnack and her husband, Richard Wilsnack, also a professor of clinical neuroscience, have been studying problem drinking in women for more than 30 years, with funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health and other agencies.
Other editors of the book are Kathryn Graham and Sharon Bernards, researchers with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto, and Myriam Munne of the Research Institute of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Except for chapters on the United States and Canada, lead authors of all other chapters are Latin American.