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Violent marriages: Gender differences in levels of current violence and past abuse

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Abstract

Military couples mandated for marital violence treatment (n=199) self-reported pretreatment levels of marital violence. This sample is unique in that data from both partners in severely violent marriages were available. Spouses were interviewed conjointly about past and current marital violence, childhood victimization, type of parental violence witnessed, and subjective impressions of childhood emotional and/or physical abuse. Results suggest that in the majority of these couples both husbands and wives reported engaging in acts of current marital violence (83%). However, significant gender differences were found such that husbands were more likely to use severely violent tactics, less likely to receive a marital violence injury, and less likely to report being afraid during the last incident of marital violence than wives. Surprisingly, wives were more likely than husbands to blame themselves for the first incidence of violence in the marriage. Husbands and wives did not differ in the prevalence of witnessing parental aggression, but wives were more likely than husbands to report being beaten as children and to perceive themselves as abused. For both genders, victimization from mother predicted marital perpetration, whereas victimization from father predicted marital victimization.

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Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Neidig, P. & Thorn, G. Violent marriages: Gender differences in levels of current violence and past abuse. J Fam Viol 10, 159–176 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02110598

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