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Violence Against Women: An Examination of Developmental Antecedents Among Black, Caucasian, and Hispanic Women

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2001
34 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of a study that examined the factors related to various patterns of male violence against African-American, Caucasian, and Hispanic women.
The study addressed the extent to which individuals in these demographic groups engaged in physical violence with their partners, as well as how these relationships changed over time. Also investigated were how socioeconomic stressors were associated with violent relationships among couples and how these relationships changed over time. The study focused on the extent to which changes in patterns of physical violence against women were associated with different stages of a relationship, as well as the extent to which culturally linked attitudes about family structure predicted violence in couple interactions. In addition, the research considered how these attitudes changed over time, what influenced the change, and how this was related to violence against women. Remaining issues addressed were the extent to which family strengths and support systems contributed to the cessation of violence in couples and the role of alcohol use in violent relationships. The data used for the study were obtained from the first and second waves of the National Survey of Families and Households, conducted by members of the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The first wave covered a broad range of family structure, processes, and relationships with a large enough sample to permit subgroup analysis. It was conducted in 1988 with a national probability sample of 13,017 respondents. In the second wave, the sample from the first wave was reinterviewed 5 years after the original interview. The study found that race/ethnicity was associated only with violence cessation and initiation. It also found that persistent violence was more likely to occur among couples in which the male partner perceived that the pregnancy of his female partner occurred sooner than intended; however, having a first child was associated with violence cessation. Personality characteristics were apparently related to patterns of male violence against women, and heavy and problematic alcohol use was related to persistent violence. Gender role ideology, particularly men's traditional ideas about gender were associated with persistent violence, but not violence initiation. Level of employment was related in various ways to different patterns of violence for different racial/ethnic groups. Overall, the study suggests that any examination of patterns of violent behavior should consider risk markers that represent various levels of analysis, including both individual and social structural, so as to obtain a more complete picture. Appendixes are available through the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (www.icpsr.umich.edu/NACJD/home.html). 60 references

Date Published: March 1, 2001