Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 91–104 | Cite as

Methodological issues in marital violence research

  • Alan Rosenbaum


Recent interest in all aspects of domestic violence has stimulated rapid proliferation of research and literature. Although the knowledge base has grown, what we don't know still far exceeds what we do know. Starting from nothing, initial research tended to “sweep with a wide broom” in an effort to develop direction. The absence of an accepted methodology produced wide sample and design variations and inconsistent findings. The urgent press for information promoted a desire to disseminate “facts” that may have been less than factually derived from research that may have originally been seen as pilot in nature. This paper discusses the methodological issues that may have contributed to some of the inconsistencies in the marital violence literature and makes suggestions for the design and interpretation of research.

Key words

marital violence methodological issues research design 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Coleman, K., Weinman, M. C., and Hsi, B. P. (1980). Factors affecting conjugal violence.Am. J. Psychol. 105: 197–202.Google Scholar
  2. Dalton, D. A., and Kantner, J. E. (1983). Aggression in battered and non-battered women as reflected in the Hand test.Psychological Rep. 53: 703–709.Google Scholar
  3. Forsstrom-Cohen, B., and Rosenbaum, A. (1985). The effects of parental marital violence on young adults: An exploratory investigation.J. Marriage Fam. 47: 467–472.Google Scholar
  4. Geffner, R. (1987). Director's comments.Fam. Viol. Bull. 3: 1.Google Scholar
  5. Geffner, R., Rosenbaum, A., and Hughes, H. (1988). Research issues concerning family violence. In Van Hasselt, V. B., Morrison, R. L., Bellack, A. S., and Hersen, M. (eds.),Handbook of Family Violence, Plenum Press, New York, pp. 457–481.Google Scholar
  6. Gelles, R. J. (1976). Abused wives: Why do they stay?J. Marr. Fam. 38: 659–668.Google Scholar
  7. Goldberg, G., and Tomianovich, M. C. (1984). Domestic violence victims in the emergency department: New findings.J. Am. Med. Ass. 251: 3259–3264.Google Scholar
  8. Goldstein, D., and Rosenbaum, A. (1985). An evaluation of the self-esteem of maritally violent men.Fam. Relat. 34: 425–428.Google Scholar
  9. Hornung, C. A., McCullough, B. C., and Sugimoto, T. (1981). Status relationships in marriage: Risk factors in spouse abuse.J. Marr. Fam. 43: 125–141.Google Scholar
  10. Hotaling, G. T., and Sugarman, D. B. (1986). An analysis of risk markers in husband to wife violence: The current state of knowledge.Viol. Vict. 1: 101–124.Google Scholar
  11. Jouriles, E. N., and O'Leary, K. D. (1985). Interspousal reliability of reports of marital violence.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 53: 419–421.Google Scholar
  12. Klein, D. (1982).The problem of multiple perception in families, Unpublished Manuscript, University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar
  13. Margolin, G. (1979). Conjoint marital therapy to enhance anger management and reduce spouse abuse.Am. J. Fam. Ther. 7: 13–23.Google Scholar
  14. Montagu, A. (1968).Man and Aggression, Oxford University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  15. O'Leary, K. D., Barling, J., Arias, I., Rosenbaum, A., Malone, J., and Tyree, A. Prevalence and stability of physical aggression between spouses, Unpublished manuscript, State University of New York at Stony Brook.Google Scholar
  16. Rosenbaum, A., and O'Leary, K. D. (1981). Marital violence: Characteristics of abusive couples.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 41: 63–71.Google Scholar
  17. Rosenbaum, A., and O'Leary, K. D. (1986). The treatment of marital violence. In Jacobson, N. S., and Gurman, A. S. (eds.),Clinical Handbook of Marital Therapy, Guilford, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Rosenbaum, A. (1986). Group treatment for abusive men: Process and outcome.Psychotherapy 23: 607–612.Google Scholar
  19. Rounsaville, B. J., (1978). Battered wives: Barriers to identification and treatment.Am. J. Orthopsychiat. 48: 487–494.Google Scholar
  20. Schumm, W. R., Martin, M. J., Bollman, S. R., and Jurich, A. P. (1982). Classifying family violence: Whither the woozle.J. Fam. Issues 3: 319–340.Google Scholar
  21. Shainess, N. (1984).Sweet Suffering: Woman as Victim, Bobbs-Merrill, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Shields, N. M., and Hanneke, C. R. (1983). Attribution processes in violent relationships: Perceptions of violent husbands and their wives.J. Appl. Social Psychol. 13: 515–527.Google Scholar
  23. Star, B. (1978). Comparing battered and non-battered women.Victimol. Int. J. 3: 32–44.Google Scholar
  24. Straus, M. A. (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The Conflict Tactics (CT) Scales.J. Marr. Fam. 41: 75–86.Google Scholar
  25. Straus, M. A., Gelles, R. J., and Steinmetz, S. K. (1980).Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family, Doubleday, New York.Google Scholar
  26. Szinovacz, M. E. (1983). Using couple data as a methodological tool: The case of marital violence.J. Marr. Fam. 45: 633–644.Google Scholar
  27. Walker, L. E. A. (1979).The Battered Women, Harper and Row, New York.Google Scholar
  28. Walker, L. E. A. (1981). Final report on the Battered Women Syndrome Study, Submitted to NIMH as the final report on NIMH Grant RO1MH30147.Google Scholar
  29. Walker, L. E. A. (1984).The Battered Woman Syndrome, Springer, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Rosenbaum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Massachusetts Medical CenterWorcester

Personalised recommendations