Problem gambling in the partner of the emergency department patient as a risk factor for intimate partner violence

Robert L. Muelleman, Tami DenOtter, Michael C. Wadman, T. Paul Tran, James Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that the increase in gambling activity nationally has resulted in an increase in intimate partner violence (IPV). There are apparently no studies that have assessed problem gambling as a risk factor for IPV. To determine if problem gambling in the partner is a risk factor for IPV, a cross-sectional study was conducted at a university-based Emergency Department (ED). All women aged 19 to 65 years who presented to the ED for treatment and were not decisionally incapacitated or acutely ill were eligible. Data were collected by a research assistant during 4 or 8-h blocks covering each day of the week over a 10-week period during the months of June through August 1999. There were 300 consecutive women approached, and 286 (95%) agreed to participate. Of the women who agreed to participate, 237 (83%) reported having an intimate partner in the last year, and 61 (25.7%) of these women were categorized as experiencing IPV. The odds ratio (OR) of experiencing IPV was the main outcome measure, estimated using standard logistic regression, given the presence of various personal and partner characteristics, including problem gambling in the partner. The results revealed that the relative odds were elevated for women whose partners were problem gamblers (adjusted OR: 10.5; 95% CI: 1.3-82) or problem drinkers (adjusted OR: 6.1; 95% CI: 2.5-14). The presence of both problem gambling and problem drinking in the partner was associated with an even higher OR (adjusted OR: 50; 95% CI: 9-280). Our study shows that problem gambling in the partner is associated with IPV. The causes of IPV are not fully known, but the association of problem gambling in the partner with IPV could lead to new intervention strategies and Emergency Medicine research in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-312
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • Alcohol abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Gambling
  • Intimate partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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