Abstract The overall aim of the current study was to comprehensively evaluate the prevalence, impact, and health correlates of marital aggression in a clinic sample of maritally discordant couples seeking psychological treatment. Participants were 93 consecutively presenting clinic couples and 16 maritally satisfied matched control couples from the community. Overall, 71% of clinic couples reported at least one act of marital aggression during the past year. Although 86% of the aggression reported was reciprocal between husbands and wives, impact and injuries sustained as a function of this aggression differed between husbands and wives. Specifically, wives were more likely than husbands to be negatively affected and to sustain severe injuries (eg, broken bones, broken teeth, or injury to sensory organs). Additionally, wives who experienced marital aggression reported clinical levels of depressive symptomatology. Recommendations are offered and risk markers are identified to improve detection by physicians of patients who may be involved in violent marriages. (Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:1178-1184) References 1. Straus MA, Gelles RJ, Steinmetz SK. Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family . New York, NY: Anchor Books; 1980. 2. Koop CE. The Surgeon General's Workshop on Violence and Public Health. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office; 1985:i. 3. Stark E, Flitcraft A, Frazier W. Medicine and patriarchal violence: the social construction of a'private' event . Int J Health Serv. 1979;9:461-493.Crossref 4. Walker L. The Battered Woman . New York, NY: Harper & Row Publishers Inc; 1979. 5. Cascardi M, O'Leary KD. Depressive symptomatology, self-esteem, and self-blame in battered women . J Earn Violence . In press. 6. Stark E, Flitcraft A. Violence among intimates: an epidemiological review . In: Van Hasselt VB, Morrisson RL, Bellack AS, Hersen M, eds. Handbook of Family Violence . New York, NY: Plenum Press; 1988:293-318. 7. Schwartz MD. Gender and injury in spousal assault . Sociol Focus. 1987;20:61-74.Crossref 8. Cantos A, Neidig P, O'Leary KD. Fear and Injuries of Women and Men in a Treatment Program for Domestic Violence . Stony Brook, NY: Behavioral Science Associates; 1991. 9. Stets J, Straus MA. Gender differences in reporting marital violence and its medical and psychological consequences . In: Straus MA, Gelles RJ, eds. Physical Violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations in 8145 American Families . New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books; 1990:151-166. 10. Follingstad DR, Brennan AF, Hause ES, Polek DS, Rutledge LL. Factors moderating physical and psychological symptoms of battered women . J Fam Violence. 1991;6:81-95.Crossref 11. Williamson D, Davis CJ, Prather RC. Assessment of health related disorders . In: Hersen M, Bellack A, eds. Behavioral Assessment: A Practical Handbook . 3rd ed. Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press Inc; 1988:chap 6. 12. Roskies E, Saraganian P, Oseasohn R, et al. The Montreal Type A Intervention Project: major findings . Health Psychol. 1986;5:45-69.Crossref 13. Hilberman E, Munson K. Sixty battered women . Victimology. 1978;2:460-471. 14. O'Leary KD, Vivian D, Malone J. Assessment of physical aggression in marriage: the need for a multimodal method . Behav Assess . In press. 15. Riggs DS, Murphy CM, O'Leary KD. Intentional falsification in reports of interpartner aggression . J Interpersonal Violence. 1989, 4:225-232.Crossref 16. O'Leary KD, Barling J, Arias I, Rosenbaum A, Malone J, Tyree A. Prevalence and stability of physical aggression between spouses . J Consult Clin Psychol. 1989;57:263-268.Crossref 17. Spanier GB. Measuring dyadic adjustment: new scales for assessing the quality of marriage and similar dyads . J Marriage Fam. 1976;38:15-28.Crossref 18. Vivian D. The Modified Conflict Tactics Scale . Stony Brook, NY: University Marital Therapy Clinic; 1990. 19. Beck AT. Depression Inventory . Philadelphia, Pa: Center for Cognitive Therapy; 1978. 20. Straus MA. Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence . J Marriage Fam. 1979;41:75-88.Crossref 21. Beck AT, Steer RA, Garbin MG. Psychometric properties of the Beck Depression Inventory: twenty-five years of evaluation . Clin Psychol Rev. 1987;8:77-100.Crossref 22. Fleiss JL. Assessing significance in a fourfold table . In: Statistical Methods for Rates and Proportions . New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons Inc; 1981:19-32. 23. O'Leary KD, Vivian D. Physical aggression in marriage . In: Fincham FD, Bradbury TN, eds. The Psychology of Marriage: Basic Issues and Applications . New York, NY: Guilford Press: 1990:323-348. 24. Baucom DH, Notarious CI, Burnett CK, Haefner P. Gender differences in sex-role identity in marriage . In: Fincham FD, Bradbury TN, eds. The Psychology of Marriage: Basic Issues and Applications . New York, NY: Guilford Press; 1990:150-171.
Archives of Internal Medicine – American Medical Association
Published: Jun 1, 1992