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Male-Perpetrated Domestic Violence: Testing a Series of Multifactorial Family Models, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2000
146 pages
This project seeks to demonstrate that domestic violence and trauma-related psychological distress are connected, with the sequelae of trauma serving as major mediators to explain the etiology and propagation of aggressive behaviors in families.
The goal of the project was a better understanding of risk factors associated with male-perpetrated domestic violence, partner's mental distress, and child behavior problems, using data from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. Structural equation modeling procedures were used in all parts of the project. Study results appear to support the perspective that exposure to highly stressful life events in a man's childhood or early adulthood and the psychological consequences may explain later partner battering and concomitant partner mental distress and child behavior problems. It appears also that the mother plays a substantial role in safeguarding her child's mental health in the midst of highly stressful life events and negative family experiences, and perhaps the effect carries forward into the next generation. This reinforces advocacy for shelters and other programs that provide supportive services to women and their children. The report recommends a strong alliance between criminal justice and mental health services, and recognition of the importance of trauma exposure and subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder symptomatology and alcohol abuse in accounting for the perpetration of violence against women. Figures, tables, references, appendixes

Date Published: September 1, 2000