Moderators of a Self-Awareness Intervention for Alcohol-Facilitated Intimate Partner Aggression
Objective: Acute alcohol intoxication has been clearly identified as a risk factor for intimate partner aggression (IPA). There is a critical need for effective IPA interventions that can be applied during episodes of acute intoxication. A self-awareness intervention for general aggression that was designed to be applied during acute intoxication could fill this gap. This intervention is grounded in objective self-awareness and alcohol myopia theories, with the main premise being that intoxicated individuals who are exposed to self-awareness cues should focus on standards of correct behavior, which will serve to inhibit aggression. The purpose of the current study was to apply this intervention to alcohol-facilitated IPA and to examine potential moderators of this effect in order to determine for whom the intervention may be most effective. Method: Participants in the current study included 133 heterosexual community couples with a history of heavy drinking and IPA. Participants took part in a two-session laboratory study investigating the efficacy of this self-awareness intervention. Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 71) or control (n = 62) condition. During the study, they consumed alcohol and participated in an aggression task ostensibly against their romantic partner. Results: Findings were inconsistent with hypotheses. There was no between-group difference in laboratory aggression, and the moderators investigated in this study did not have an impact on the intervention’s efficacy. Conclusions: Present findings suggest that the self-awareness intervention may be ineffective for reducing alcohol-facilitated IPA. Potential explanations for this finding and implications for future research are discussed.