Alcohol, Alcoholism, and Family Violence

  • Kenneth E. Leonard
  • Theodore Jacob


That excessive alcohol use may be related to family violence is by no means a new idea. William Hogarth’ s drawing of life in “Gin Alley” presents a striking visual image of the ills of alcohol: an intoxicated woman who neglectfully allows her small infant to fall from her arms. Temperance tracts in the 1830s and 1840s promulgated the view that alcohol, even in somewhat moderate doses, resulted in neglect of the basic needs of the family. Expenditures of family resources on alcohol rather than food and clothing and unusually cruel violence directed at children and spouse were repeatedly discussed. In 1832, for example, the Fifth Report of the American Temperance Society devoted several pages to instances where a father, while intoxicated, had murdered his wife or children:

In the State of New York alone, in the course of a few weeks, not less than four men, under the influence of ardent spirits, murdered their wives, and with their own hands made their children orphans.... One of these men put to death not only his wife, but six of his children. (American Temperance Society Documents, 1972)


Alcohol Consumption Child Abuse Physical Aggression Family Violence Alcohol Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth E. Leonard
    • 1
  • Theodore Jacob
    • 2
  1. 1.Research Institute on AlcoholismBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Division of Child Development and Family RelationsUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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