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Physical Violence Among White, African-American, and Hispanic Couples: Ethnic Differences in Initiation, Persistence, and Cessation (From Violence Against Women and Family Violence: Developments in Research, Practice, and Policy, 2004, Bonnie Fisher, ed. -- See NCJ-199701)

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2004
11 pages
Using a larger sample size than previous similar studies, as well as information from both the perpetrators and victims in intimate partner violence, this study examined whether there were racial/ethnic differences in patterns of male violence against women and whether these differences remained when other theoretically relevant variables were introduced into the model.
The data used for the study were obtained from the first and second waves of the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), which was designed to cover a broad range of family structures, processes, and relationships with a large enough sample to permit subgroup analysis. The first wave of NSFH was conducted in 1988 and included a national probability sample of 13,017 respondents. Interviews were conducted with a cross-sectional sample of households and an oversample of Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, single-parent families, families with stepchildren, cohabiting couples, and recently married persons. One adult in each household was randomly selected as the primary respondent. Five years after the initial interview, the first wave sample was reinterviewed. The second wave consisted of face-to-face interviews with surviving members of the original sample and a personal interview with the current spouse or partner (n=3,584). Several questions assessed intimate partner violence, and race/ethnicity was a self-identification measure. At the multivariate level, youth was significantly associated with all violence categories, suggesting several ways in which age and violence intersect. Those men who stopped their violent behavior between wave one and two may have "aged out" of such behavior. Being employed fewer weeks at the time of the second wave was also significantly associated with two of the violence categories, i.e., violence cessation and initiation. Among Hispanic couples, cohabitation and being employed more hours at wave two were both significantly associated with persistent violent behavior, and being employed fewer weeks at the time of the second wave was associated with greater risk of violence initiation. Among African-American couples, youth was associated with both persistent violence and the initiation of violence, and being employed fewer weeks at wave two was associated with both violence cessation and initiation. Among White couples, younger men were at greater risk of being in all three of the violence categories than with being in the nonviolent group. White men who were employed fewer weeks by the time of the second wave were also at a greater risk of initiating violent behavior. The author advises that these study findings should be interpreted with caution because of the relatively small Hispanic and African-American samples. Implications are drawn for research and practice. 3 exhibits and 18 references

Date Published: January 1, 2004