, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 315-344

Interactive and Unique Risk Factors for Husbands' Emotional and Physical Abuse of Their Wives

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Abstract

Predisposing risk factors of husband to wife physical and emotional abusiveness were assessed in 175 community volunteer couples. Negative life events, marital dissatisfaction, attitudes regarding aggression, and employment status accounted for unique variance in the prediction of husbands' total abusiveness. Alcohol impairment, while not in itself a significant predictor, moderated the effects of life stress and marital dissatisfaction. Men reporting alcohol impairment, combined with high negative life events or with high marital dissatisfaction, exhibited greater abusiveness than predicted by the additive effects of these individual risk factors. Men exhibiting emotional abuse, compared to those without emotional abuse, scored higher on hostility and attitudes condoning aggression, whereas men exhibiting severe physical aggression, compared to those without severe physical aggression, reported more negative life events, more marital dissatisfaction, more hostility, and more exposure to abuse in their family of origin. The present data highlight the importance of variables that fluctuate over time, as well as the co-occurrence of such variables in understanding husband to wife abusiveness.