A North­eastern Uni­ver­sity study of col­lege stu­dents from an uniden­ti­fied uni­ver­sity found that both the per­pe­tra­tors and the vic­tims of phys­ical and sexual vio­lence report high sub­stance use during those incidents.

The find­ings of the study have high­lighted the rela­tion between inter­per­sonal vic­tim­iza­tion and sub­stance use among male and female stu­dents, and described study par­tic­i­pant and per­pe­trator sub­stance use at the time of vic­tim­iza­tion incidents.

The results of the study sug­gest that sub­stance use is common among the victim, per­pe­trator, and both,” noted co-​​author Dr. Hort­ensia Amaro, dis­tin­guished pro­fessor of health sci­ences and coun­seling psy­chology in the Bouvé Col­lege of Health Sci­ences at North­eastern, asso­ciate dean for urban health research, and director of the Insti­tute on Urban Health Research. “The find­ings also sug­gest that pre­vious doc­u­men­ta­tion among vic­tim­iza­tion studies of a rela­tion between sub­stance use and sub­se­quent risk for vic­tim­iza­tion may also be attrib­ut­able to the sub­stance use behavior of the perpetrator.”

With more than 1,300 random sam­ples of male and female par­tic­i­pants com­pleting the survey, the researchers mea­sured data rel­e­vant to sexual vio­lence; alcohol, mar­i­huana and cocaine use; drinking behavior at the time of the inci­dent; and demographics.

The results showed sim­i­lar­i­ties, as well as dif­fer­ences, amongst males and females. For example, female stu­dents were more likely to report sexual vio­lence com­pared to males, whereas males were more likely to report phys­ical vic­tim­iza­tion. In addi­tion, both males and females reported high rates of per­pe­trator and own sub­stance use during vic­tim­iza­tion incidents.

The study, titled “The rela­tion between inter­per­sonal vio­lence and sub­stance use among a sample of uni­ver­sity stu­dents: Exam­i­na­tion of the role of victim and per­pe­trator sub­stance use,” was pub­lished in “Addic­tive Behaviors.”

Amaro, a new member of the Insti­tute of Medicine’s Com­mittee on Women’s Health Research, has also recently been appointed to the Sub­stance Abuse and Mental Health Ser­vices Admin­is­tra­tion (SAMHSA) National Advi­sory Council. The SAMHSA National Advi­sory Council is a 12-​​member panel of experts that meets reg­u­larly to advise the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices Sec­re­tary and SAMHSA’s admin­is­trator on a wide range of public health mat­ters related to pre­ven­tion, treat­ment, and recovery sup­port services.