RALEIGH, N.C. — As part of an effort to reduce the incidence of family violence and substance abuse in the military,
has been awarded a $1.4 million U.S. Army contract to study the co-occurrence of substance abuse, child abuse and spousal abuse among service members and their families.
The study will be used by Army officials to identify opportunities to improve the linkages between programs that identify, prevent and treat family violence and substance abuse in the military, and to make these services more accessible to Army families.
"The military is a reflection of society," said principal investigator Deborah Gibbs of RTI's
Health, Social and Economics Research.
"So it is not surprising that military families experience domestic violence and substance abuse, especially if one considers the unique stressors military families face, such as deployments and disruption of social ties."
Gibbs said those stressors may contribute to the co-occurrence of substance abuse, spousal abuse and child abuse. People who work in the fields of spousal abuse, child abuse and substance abuse have long believed that the three problems are intertwined, but it has been difficult to understand the extent or nature of the correlation.
Gibbs said this study will lead to a better understanding of the interactions and that such information will be useful in reducing the effects of family violence and substance abuse within the military. She added that understanding gained through this study also will be applicable in many ways to service delivery systems in civilian society.
Gibbs will be assisted in the research project by RTI International's Monique Clinton-Sherrod and Sandra Martin of the
University of North Caroluna at Chapel Hill's School of Public Health.
The study is scheduled for completion in 2007.