Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 157–170 | Cite as

Female Domestic Violence Toward Male Partners: Exploring Conflict Responses and Outcomes

Abstract

The general purpose of this study was to investigate domestic violence within a conflict framework. Specifically, the association between conflict-based, communication response and outcome behaviors and the frequency and severity of female domestic violence towards male partners was examined. Participants were 153 female volunteers who reported on a range of communication responses and outcomes for both self and partner. The contribution of relationship distress was controlled for and also examined as a moderator. Relationship distress was not found to be a significant moderator. Results showed that seven communication response variables and four outcome variables were significantly associated with the frequency and/or severity of female domestic violence. Relative to nonviolent relationships, relationships with female violence had more male and female unilateral verbal aggression, more mutual verbal aggression, more male verbal aggression/female calms things down, more male demand/partner withdraw, more mutual avoidance, and less constructive relative to destructive communication. Relationships with female violence also had poorer resolution of problems and more emotional distance after problem arguments and discussions than their nonviolent counterparts.

domestic violence family violence interpersonal conflict spouse abuse 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Babcock, J. C., Waltz, J., Jacobson, N. S., and Gottman, J. M. (1993). Power and violence: The relation between communication patterns, power discrepancies, and domestic violence. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 61: 40–50.Google Scholar
  2. Barling, J., O'Leary, K. D., Jouriles, E. N., Vivian, D., and MacEwen, K. E. (1987). Factor similarity of the conflict tactics scales across samples, spouses, and sites: Issues and implications. J. Fam. Viol. 2: 37–54.Google Scholar
  3. Baron, R. M., and Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 51: 1173–1182.Google Scholar
  4. Berns, S. B., Jacobson, N. S., and Gottman, J. M. (1999). Demand/withdraw interaction in couples with a violent husband. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 67: 666–674.Google Scholar
  5. Browning, J., and Dutton, D. (1986). Assessment of wife assault with the Conflict Tactics Scale: Using couple data to quantify the differential reporting effect. J. Marr. Fam. 48: 375–379.Google Scholar
  6. Burman, B., John, R. S., and Margolin, G. (1992). Observed patterns of conflict in violent, nonviolent, and nondistressed couples. Behav. Assess. 14(1): 15–37.Google Scholar
  7. Burman, B., Margolin, G., and John, R. S. (1993). America's angriest home videos: Behavioral contingencies observed in home reenactments of marital conflict. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 61(1): 28–39.Google Scholar
  8. Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., and Rodgers, W. L. (1976). The Quality of American Life, Simon & Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Christensen, A. (1987). Detection of conflict patterns in couples. In Hahlweg, K., and Goldstein, M. J. (Eds.), Understanding Major Mental Disorder: The Contribution of Family Interaction Research, Family Process Press, New York, pp. 250–265.Google Scholar
  10. Christensen, A. (1988). Dysfunctional interaction patterns in couples. In Noller, P., and Fitzpatrick, M. A. (Eds.), Perspectives on Marital Interaction, Multilingual Matters, Philadelphia, PA, pp. 31–52.Google Scholar
  11. Christensen, A., and Heavey, C. L. (1990). Gender and social structure in the demand/withdraw pattern of marital conflict. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 59: 73–81.Google Scholar
  12. Christensen, A., and Heavey, C. L. (1993). Gender differences in martial conflict. The demand–withdraw interaction pattern. In Oskamp, S., and Costanzo, M. (Eds.), Gender Issues in Contemporary Society, Sage, Newbury Park, CA.Google Scholar
  13. Christensen, A., and Shenk, J. (1991). Communication, conflict, and psychological distance in nondistressed, clinic, and divorcing couples. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 59: 458–463.Google Scholar
  14. Christensen, A., and Sullaway, M. (1984). Communication Patterns Questionnaire, Unpublished manuscript, University of California, Los Angeles.Google Scholar
  15. Cordova, J. V., Jacobson, N. S., Gottman, J. M., Rushe, R., and Cox, G. (1993). Negative reciprocity and communication in couples with a violent husband. J. Abnorm. Psychol. 102(4): 559–564.Google Scholar
  16. Feldman, C. M. (1997). Childhood precursors of adult interpartner violence. Clin. Psychol. Sci. Pract. 4(4): 307–334.Google Scholar
  17. Feldman, C. M., and Ridley, C. A. (1995). The etiology and treatment of domestic violence between adult partners. Clin. Psychol. Sci. Pract. 2(4): 317–348.Google Scholar
  18. Feldman, C. M., and Ridley, C. A. (2000). The role of conflict-based communication responses and outcomes in male domestic violence toward female partners. J. Soc. Pers. Relationships. 17: 552–573.Google Scholar
  19. Galvin, K. M., and Brommel, B. J. (1986). Family Communication: Cohesion and Change, Scott Foresman & Co, Glenview IL.Google Scholar
  20. Gelles, R. (1974). The Violent Home, Sage, Beverly Hills, CA.Google Scholar
  21. Gottman, J. M. (1979). Marital Interaction: Experimental Investigations, Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Gottman, J. M. (1994). What Predicts Divorce: The Relationship Between Marital Processes and Marital Outcomes, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.Google Scholar
  23. Heavey, C. L., Larson, B. M., Christensen, A., and Zumtobel, D. C. (1996). The communication patterns questionnaire: The reliability and validity of a constructive communication subscale. J. Marr. Fam. 58: 796–800.Google Scholar
  24. Hocker, J. L., and Wilmot, W. W. (1991). Interpersonal Conflict, Wm. C. Brown, Dubuque, IA.Google Scholar
  25. Holmbeck, G. N. (1997). Toward terminological, conceptual, and statistical clarity in the study of mediator and moderators: Examples from the child-clinical and pediatric psychological literatures. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 65: 599–610.Google Scholar
  26. Holtzworth-Munroe, A., Smutzler, N., and Stuart, G. L. (1998). Demand and withdraw communication among couples experiencing husband violence. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 66: 731–743.Google Scholar
  27. Huston, T. L., McHale, S. M., and Crouter, A. C. (1986). When the honeymoon's over: Changes in the marriage relationship over the first year. In Gilmor, R., and Duck, S. (Eds.), The Emerging Field of Personal Relationships, Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 109–133.Google Scholar
  28. Huston, T. L., and Vangelisti, A. L. (1991). Socioemotional behavior and satisfaction in marital relationships: A longitudinal study. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 61: 721–733.Google Scholar
  29. Infante, D. A. (1987). Aggressiveness. In McCroskey, J. C., and Daly, J. A. (Eds.), Personality and Interpersonal Communication, Sage, Newbury Park, CA, pp. 157–192.Google Scholar
  30. Infante, D. A., Sabourin, T. C., Rudd, J. E., and Shannon, E. A. (1990). Verbal aggression in violent and nonviolent marital disputes. Commun. Q. 38: 361–371.Google Scholar
  31. Infante, D. A., and Wigley, C. J. (1986). Verbal aggressiveness: An interpersonal model and measure. Commun. Monographs 53: 61–69.Google Scholar
  32. Jacobson, N. S., Gottman, J. M., Waltz, J., Rushe, R., Babcock, J., and Holtzworth-Munroe, A. (1994). Affect, verbal content, and psychophysiology in the arguments of couples with a violent husband. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol 62: 982–988.Google Scholar
  33. Jacobson, N. S., and Gurman, A. S. (1986). Clinical Handbook of Marital Therapy, Guilford Press, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Kelley, H. H. (1983). Analyzing close relationships. In Kelley, H. H., Berscheid, E. S., Christensen, A., Harvey, J., Huston, T. L., Levinger, G., McClintock, E., Peplau, A., and Peterson, D. R. (Eds.), Close Relationships, W. H. Freeman, New York, pp. 20–67.Google Scholar
  35. Levinson, R. W., and Gottman, J. M. (1983). Marital interaction: Physiological linkage and affective exchange. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 45: 487–597.Google Scholar
  36. Lloyd, S.A. (1987). Conflict in premarital relationships: Differential perceptions of males and females. Fam. Relat. 36: 290–294.Google Scholar
  37. Lloyd, S. A. (1990). Conflict types and strategies in violent marriages. J. Fam. Viol. 5: 269–283.Google Scholar
  38. Lloyd, S. A. (1996). Physical aggression, distress, and everyday marital interaction. In Cahn, D. D., and Lloyd, S. A. (Eds.), Family Violence From a Communication Perspective, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 177–198.Google Scholar
  39. Lloyd, S. A., Koval, J. E., and Cate, R. M. (1989). Conflict and violence in dating relationships. In Pirog-Good, M. A., and Stets, J. E. (Eds.), Violence in Dating Relationships: Emerging Social Issues, Praeger, New York, pp. 126–142.Google Scholar
  40. Margolin, G., John, R. S., Ghosh, C. M., and Gordis, E. B. (1996). Family interaction process: An essential tool for exploring abusive relations. In Cahn, D. D., and Lloyd, S. A. (Eds.), Family violence from a communication perspective, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 37–58.Google Scholar
  41. Margolin, G., John, R. S., and Gleberman, L. (1988). Affective responses to conflictual discussions in violent and nonviolent couples. J. Consult. Clin. psychol. 56: 24–33.Google Scholar
  42. Markman, H. J., Renick, M. J., Floyd, F. J., Stanley, S. M., and Clements, M. (1993). Preventing marital distress through communication and conflict management training: A 4 and 5 year follow-up. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 61: 70–77.Google Scholar
  43. Markman, H. J., Stanely, S. M., and Blumberg, S. L. (1994). Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps for Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love, Josie Bass, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  44. Murphy, C. M., and O'Leary, K. D. (1989). Psychological aggression predicts physical aggression in early marriage. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 57: 579–582.Google Scholar
  45. Noller, P., and White, A. (1990). The validity of the communication patterns questionnaire. Psychol. Assess. 2: 478–482.Google Scholar
  46. O'Leary, K. D. (1988). Physical aggression between spouses: A social learning theory perspective. In Van Hasselt, V. B., Morrison, R. L., Bellack, A. S., and Hersen, M. (Eds.), Handbook of Family Violence Plenum, New York, pp. 31–56.Google Scholar
  47. O'Leary, K. D., Barling, J., Arias, I., Rosenbaum, A., Malone, J., and Tyree, A. (1989). Prevalence and stability of physical aggression between spouses: A longitudinal analysis. J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 57: 263–268.Google Scholar
  48. Pan, H. S., Neidig, P. H., and O'Leary, K. D. (1994). Male–female and aggressor–victim differences in the factor structure of the modified conflict tactics scale. J. Interpers. Viol. 9: 366–382.Google Scholar
  49. Peterson, D. R. (1983). Conflict. In Kelley, H. H., Berscheid, E. S., Christensen, A., Harvey, J., Huston, T. L., Levinger, G., McClintock, E., Peplau, A., and Peterson, D. R. (Eds.), Close Relationships, W. H. Freeman, New York. pp. 360–396.Google Scholar
  50. Rands, M., Levinger, G., and Mellinger, G. D. (1981). Patterns of conflict resolution and marital satisfaction. J. Fam. Issues 2: 297–321.Google Scholar
  51. Roloff, M. E. (1996). The catalyst hypothesis: Conditions under which coercive communication leads to physical aggression. In Cahn, D. D., and Lloyd, S. A. (Eds.), Family Violence From a Communication Perspective, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 20–36.Google Scholar
  52. Rusbolt, C. E., Bissonnette, L., Arriaga, X. L., and Cox, C. L. (1998). Accommodation processes during the early years of marriage. In T. N. Bradbury (ed.), The developmental course of marital dysfunction (pp. 74–113) Cambridge University, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Sabourin, T. C. (1995). The role of negative reciprocity in spouse abuse: A relational control analysis. J. Appl. Commun. Res. 23(4): 271–283.Google Scholar
  54. Sabourin, T. C. (1996). The role of communication in verbal abuse between spouses. In Cahn, D. D., and Lloyd, S. A. (Eds.), Family Violence From a Communication Perspective, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 199–217.Google Scholar
  55. Sabourin, T. C., Infante, D. C., and Rudd, J. E. (1993). Verbal aggression in marriages: A comparison of violent, distressed but nonviolent, and nondistressed couples. Human Commun. Res. 20: 245–267.Google Scholar
  56. Shepard, M. F., and Campbell, J. A. (1992). The abusive behavior inventory: A measure of psychological and physical abuse. J. Interpers. Violence 7: 291–305.Google Scholar
  57. Straus, M. A. (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The conflict tactics scales(CTS). J. Marr. Fam. 41: 75–88.Google Scholar
  58. Straus, M. A., and Gelles, R. J. (1986). Societal change and change in family violence from 1975 to 1985 as revealed by two national samples. J. Marr. Fam. 48: 465–479.Google Scholar
  59. Straus, M. A., and Gelles, R. J. (1990). Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families, Transaction Books, New Brunswick, NJ.Google Scholar
  60. Straus, M. A., Gelles, R. J., and Steinmetz, S. K. (1980). Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family, Doubleday, Garden City, NY.Google Scholar
  61. Stuart, R. B. (1980). Helping Couples Change: A Social Learning Approach to Marital Therapy, Guilford Press, New York.Google Scholar
  62. Tabachnick, B. G., and Fidell, L. S. (1989). Using Multivariate Statistics, Harper & Row, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Family and Consumer SciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucson

Personalised recommendations