Violence and Victims

Published by Springer Verlag
Print ISSN: 0886-6708
Undergraduate college students (N = 133) were assessed for posttrauma and depressive symptomatology, posttrauma cognitions, and previous traumatic experiences 1 month after the September 11 attacks in the United States. Negative beliefs regarding oneself and the world mediated the relationship between prior interpersonal trauma and acute trauma symptoms. Acute depression acted as a mediator between prior interpersonal trauma and negative cognitions of oneself and self-blame cognitions. The results suggest that even in a nonclinical, nontreatment seeking college sample, prior traumatic events can play an important role in an individual's short-term adjustment following indirect exposure to a significant trauma. The differential relationship of negative beliefs on acute trauma symptoms and depression is discussed.
Neuropsychological functioning was assessed in 39 males who had committed domestic violence (batterers) and compared to 63 nonviolent (both maritally discordant and satisfied) subjects recruited by advertisement. Subjects were subsequently divided into two groups (head injured, nonhead injured) and these groups were also contrasted as a function of batterer status. Tests were administered to assess for cognitive and behavioral functions, including executive dysfunction, hypothesized to be a factor contributing to propensity for violence. Questionnaires and structured clinical interviews were used to assess marital discord, emotional distress, and violent behaviors. Batterers differed from nonbatterers across several cognitive domains: executive, learning, memory, and verbal functioning. Batterers were reliably discriminated from nonbatterers based on three neuropsychological tasks: Digit Symbol, Recognition Memory Test-Words, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Neuropsychological performance was the strongest correlate of domestic violence of all clinical variables measured. However, the inclusion of two other variables, severity of emotional distress and history of head injury, together with the neuropsychological indices provided the strongest correlation with batterers status. Among batterers, neuropsychological performance did not vary as a function of head injury status, indicating that while prior head injury was correlated with batterer status, it was not the sole basis for their impairments. The findings suggest that current cognitive status, prior brain injury, childhood academic problems, as well as psychosocial influences, contribute along with coexisting emotional distress to a propensity for domestic violence.
Somatic preoccupation has been associated with a variety of comorbid psychiatric conditions including childhood trauma, personality disorder, and depression. The current study was undertaken to simultaneously explore the inter-relationship of these psychiatric variables as conceptualized in a path model. Participants (N = 120), both men and women, seen for nonemergent health care in a resident-staffed internal medicine clinic, were given questionnaires exploring the presence of childhood trauma, borderline personality symptomatology, current depression, worry, and somatic preoccupation. With one exception, all simple correlation coefficients among study variables were relatively substantial. By sequencing variables into an a priori model and using a path analytic approach, several indirect and direct relationships among variables were evident. Most important, childhood trauma exhibited a direct effect on somatic preoccupation as well as indirect effects through borderline personality disturbance and current depression. These data suggest that childhood trauma may be a precursor for somatic preoccupation during adulthood.
The effect of poverty on crime is a controversial issue, mostly because past research has produced only weak evidence of a relationship between economic hardship and crime rates. A review of the literature suggests, however, that time-series data have not been fully exploited in studies of the poverty-crime relationship. This paper helps fill that gap by presenting a regression equation that links poverty and the homicide rate in Detroit from 1926 to 1978. The equation uses a measure based on the infant mortality rate in order to avoid problems associated with monetary indicators of poverty, and it allows for lagged effects across time. The results strongly support the idea that increases in the level of poverty lead to increases in homicide rates.
From 1968 to 1985, the rate of homicide in the United States has increased 44%. Its relative impact on premature mortality, as measured by the percentage of years of potential life lost (YPLL) before age 65 from all causes of death due to homicide, has nearly doubled (93% increase). This increase calls attention to the emerging importance of interpersonal violence relative to all public health problems affecting persons under 65 years of age. The percentage of YPLL from all causes of death due to homicide increased in each race/sex group and for both firearm and nonfirearm means of homicide. The increase in homicide YPLL was traced mainly to an increase in the number of homicide deaths and, to a smaller extent, to a decrease in the average age at death of homicide victims.
A survey conducted in 1982 measured perceived threats of shame, embarrassment, and legal sanctions for "physically hurting someone on purpose" among a sample of adults in a southwestern city (N = 350). Sampling from the same community and using an identical methodology, the measures were repeated in a 1992 survey (N = 396). The growing social condemnation of interpersonal violence, especially intimate violence, during the decade and the increasingly punitive response to it by the legal system lead to the hypothesis that perceived threats of shame, embarrassment, and legal sanctions for this behavior were higher in 1992 than they were in 1982. Results indicate increases for embarrassment and legal sanctions among some segments of the population and are discussed in the context of previous findings concerning shame, embarrassment, and legal sanctions as deterrents.
A sample of police incident reports was used to examine the magnitude and patterns of family and intimate assault involving weapon use or threat, bodily force, or verbal threat of assault in a defined urban population during 1984. More than half of the incidents involved partners (spousal and nonspousal), about a fourth involved prior or estranged partners, and the remainder involved family members and relatives. The 1984 rate of nonfatal family and intimate assault was estimated at 837 per 100,000 population--the fatal rate was 7 per 100,000 population. Fatal and nonfatal victimization rates for blacks and other races were three times the rates for whites. Fatal incidents predominantly involved handguns, and nonfatal incidents most often involved bodily force. Most nonfatal victims (66%) and some perpetrators (13%) suffered physical injuries. Data on prior police contacts suggest that family and intimate assaults occur within a context of repeated violence. Information about prior incidents might contribute to preventive efforts by identifying people at high risk of being victims or perpetrators.
Homicide-suicide is a form of fatal violence in which an individual commits homicide and subsequently kills him- or herself. One hundred and sixteen homicide-suicide events involving 119 female homicide victims in North Carolina from 1988-1992 were identified through state medical examiner files. Case files were reviewed retrospectively to identify event characteristics, precursors, and typologies. In 86% of cases the perpetrator was the current or former partner of the victim. During the study period, 24% of men who killed their female partners in North Carolina subsequently committed suicide and another 3% attempted suicide but survived. Victim separation from the perpetrator was the most prevalent precursor (41%), followed by a history of domestic violence (29%). In nearly half of the cases with a history of domestic violence, the victim had previously sought protection from the perpetrator in the form of an arrest warrant, restraining order, or intervention by a law enforcement officer. Children of the victim (and/or perpetrator) witnessed the homicide-suicide, were in the immediate vicinity, found their parents’ bodies, or were killed, in 43% of cases. The prevalence of separation and domestic violence suggests several potential points of intervention, including stronger domestic violence legislation. Future research should place priority on assessing the impact of partner homicidesuicides on the families in which they occur. Such studies are essential for the informed development of preventive and therapeutic interventions for the families of both the victims and perpetrators of these fatal events. In addition, research focused on assisting men in coping with issues of control and separation is needed.
Descriptions of the 1990s crime drop point to the importance of declines in firearm violence among young, Black, urban males. This extant research is valuable but incomplete in terms of the crimes considered and the degree of disaggregation considered. This study complements current work on fatal violence by providing a comprehensive description of nonfatal violence trends using highly disaggregated data from the National Crime Victimization Survey. Through disaggregation we describe how the risk for nonlethal serious violence differs among a variety of victim populations, how these risks varied over time, and the contribution made by each group to the overall decline in crime. We also examine how firearm violence, and violence by a variety of victim/offender categories contributed to the aggregate drop in nonfatal serious violence.
To estimate the frequency of firearm retrieval because of a known or presumed intruder, the authors analyzed data from a 1994 national random digit dialing telephone survey (n = 5,238 interviews). Three mutually exclusive definitions of firearm retrieval were constructed: (1) retrieved a firearm because there might be an intruder, (2) retrieved a firearm and saw an intruder, and (3) retrieved a firearm, saw an intruder, and believed the intruder was frightened away by the gun. Of 1,678 (34%) households with firearms, 105 (6%) retrieved a firearm in the previous 12 months because of an intruder. National projections based on these self-reports reveal an estimated 1,896,842 (95% CI [confidence interval] = 1,480,647-2,313,035) incidents in which a firearm was retrieved, but no intruder was seen; 503,481 (95% CI = 305,093-701,870) incidents occurred in which an intruder was seen, and 497,646 (95% CI = 266,060-729,231) incidents occurred in which the intruder was seen and reportedly scared away by the firearm. Estimates of the protective use of firearms are sensitive to the definitions used. Researchers should carefully consider both how these events are defined and the study methods used.
To investigate the characteristics and trends of injury among hospitalized child abuse children younger than 18 years between 1997 and 2009. We selected hospitalized child abuse cases from the Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) Database in accordance with ICD-9-CM 995.5x or E967.x. There were 1,212 victims of hospitalized child abuse during the research period, including 735 boys and 477 girls. The victims were most frequently inflicted by the father or stepfather, and the most common injury was intracranial damage; besides, the victims most commonly sought treatment in medical centers. Infants younger than 1 year accounted for the highest percentage of hospitalized victims. Although there were no apparent trends in the overall hospitalization rate of the child abuse victims over the 13-year period, the rate of abuse among girls increased gradually over the years. The medical staff in hospitals should provide appropriate treatment to the victims and contact relevant organizations to intervene; moreover, government agencies should formulate effective control measures to develop a safe growth environment for children.
The association between alcohol use and substantiated incidents of nonmutual and mutual domestic violence between U.S. Army enlisted soldiers and their spouses was examined for the period 1998–2004. Maltreatment was always more severe in nonmutual incidents. Female victims experienced more severe maltreatment than males. Male offenders and victims were more likely to be drinking than females. For victims of both sexes, severity was greater when offenders were drinking. Older males were more likely to be offenders in nonmutual incidents. White males were more likely than Black or Hispanic males to be offenders in nonmutual incidents. There is a need for both domestic violence and alcohol treatment programs to focus on the increased risk of abuse when alcohol is involved.
The pattern and severity of substantiated mutual and nonmutual spouse abuse between U.S. Army enlisted personnel and their spouses was determined for 1998 to 2002. The number of nonmutual and mutual abuse victims was equal in 1998, but by 2002 there were about twice as many non mutual as mutual victims. The rate per thousand of mutual abuse decreased by 58% while that of nonmutual abuse decreased by 13%. The rate per thousand of female victims was always greater than male victims for non-mutual abuse and the severity of abuse of female victims was always more severe than male victims. The active duty female had the highest risk of becoming a victim. These patterns of mutual and nonmutual domestic abuse in the U.S. Army suggest that prevention and educational approaches could be developed that would be useful to prevention specialists and to clinicians as the Army pursues avenues to reduce domestic violence.
This article provides the most recent U.S. prevalence estimates of forced sex and unwanted sexual activity. Results of a national telephone survey conducted in 2001-2003 indicate that 1 in 59 U.S. adults (2.7 million women and 978,000 men) experienced unwanted sexual activity in the 12 months preceding the survey and that 1 in 15 U.S. adults (11.7 million women and 2.1 million men) have been forced to have sex during their lifetime. There were 60.4% of females and 69.2% of males who were 17 years old or younger at the time the first forced sex occurred. This study provides an update to the National Violence Against Women Survey with more recent national data. Findings suggest that victimization rates have remained consistent since the 1990s. These findings suggest that a continued effort toward primary prevention of sexual violence, particularly rape of children and adolescents, is needed.
Using data from the North Carolina Violent Death Reporting System and other sources, we examined ecologic relationships between county (n = 100) disadvantage and intimate partner homicide (IPH), variability by victim gender and county urbanicity, and potential mediators. County disadvantage was related to female-victim homicide only in metropolitan counties (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.25); however, disadvantage was associated with male-victim IPH regardless of county urbanicity (IRR 1.17). None of the potential intervening variables examined (shelter availability, intimate partner violence services' funding) was supported as a mediator. Results suggest disparities across North Carolina counties in IPH according to county disadvantage. Future research should explore other potential mediators (i.e., service accessibility and law enforcement responses), as well as test the robustness of findings using additional years of data.
This study investigates the impact of the earthquake that occurred on May 12, 2008 in Sichuan, China on stressed families already experiencing domestic violence. We hypothesized that cumulative postdisaster stress would increase marital aggression and that the well-being of victims would deteriorate following the quake. A total of 186 women were recruited for this study. Results show that all types of family violence, including psychological aggression and physical violence between partners, increased after the earthquake. We provided preliminary evidence that psychological aggression was significantly associated with the detrimental effects on victims' mental and physical functioning. The findings support the need for violence assessment among victims of earthquakes, and we recommend that violence prevention be considered as part of the intervention during such natural disasters.
Gender of Perpetrator for Different Forms of Youth Victimization 
Severity of Assault Victimization by Perpetrator Gender: Injury and Penetration 
Male-Perpetrated and Female-Perpetrated Incidents Rank Ordered by Victim Fear (Means and Standard Deviations) 
Bivariate Correlations of Higher Order Victimization-Level Characteristics 
Most interest in violence and gender has focused on certain types of victimization such as sex offenses and relational aggression. This study examined gender patterns across numerous forms of youth victimization. The data are from the National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), a nationally representative U.S. sample of 4,549 children ages 1 month to 17 years obtained through a telephone survey of caregivers and youth. For 18 of 21 victimization types, male perpetration was significantly more common than female perpetration. Perpetrator-victim patterns revealed that most forms of physical assault and bullying showed a predominantly male-on-male pattern. All forms of sexual assault, plus kidnapping, showed a predominantly male-on-female pattern. Nonphysical maltreatment showed a mixed pattern, with fairly similar rates across all four gender configurations. Many violence types were more severe when perpetrated by males versus females as indicated by higher injury rates and greater victim fear. Higher order analyses by victimization type indicated, among other findings, that victimization types with more stranger perpetrators had more male perpetrators, victimizations with higher percentages of male-on-female and female-on-male incidents were more likely to be sexual offenses, and higher percentages of female-on-female incidents were associated with verbal victimizations. Results also suggest that males are more likely to aggress in more impersonal contexts compared to females. Gender socialization, physical power, and social power appear to intersect in ways that create gendered patterns of violence. These factors, versus a focus on skills deficits, need more attention in prevention and intervention.
In the past, child sexual abuse prevention programs have been examined for changes in children's knowledge, attitude and skills about preventing sexual abuse. Although many studies challenge prevention programs to incorporate a variety of methods, including parent education and community awareness efforts, little is known about how prevention programs actually function in their community contexts. This exploratory study reports data from 87 programs as provided by program leaders and advocates. Variables considered include: funding, types of materials and approaches utilized, barriers encountered, length of program existence, demographics of target populations, and demographics of those spearheading local prevention programs. Prevention leaders indicated that program continuance is affected by factors such as adequate and secure funding, community level of denial, competing agendas, and community collaboration. This study also documents that programs are responding to challenges in the literature to improve prevention program components, although one-time programs for children are still the norm.
Using a structured interview to obtain a lifetime history of criminal victimization, a community sample of 266 adult women who had experienced at least one incident of victimization was identified. These women were administered the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised, the Impact of Event Scale, and a structured clinical interview was used to identify Crime-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CR-PTSD). A recently derived scale based on responses to items on the SCL-90-R was compared to the IES for predicting current diagnosis of Crime-Related PostTraumatic Disorder. Both the scale and the IES were found to improve prediction of CR-PTSD above base rates and to perform in a similar manner. The utility of each of these scales as a screening measure is discussed.
(Continued) Group 
In order to identify the characteristics associated with physical abuse of female partners, a detailed questionnaire was administered to 997 men who were recruited from either a forensic out-patient clinic (780) or from a community based employment center (217). This questionnaire sampled family and personal history, criminal behavior, psychopathology, and attitudes towards violence. Based upon self-report, the sample was divided into 184 non-abusive men, 517 moderately abusive men, and 296 severely abusive men. The full sample (997) was randomly divided into two subsamples and then, using a cross-validation design, group differences were identified in both subsamples on 46 of the 93 variables examined in this study. All significant effects were linear, such that the average scores of the severely abusive men were worse than the scores of the abusive men who, in turn, scored worse than the non-abusive men. In general, both groups of abusive men reported high rates of violence during childhood (both as victims and perpetrators), antisocial personality disorder, subjective distress, marital maladjustment, attitudes tolerant of spouse assault, and a range of impulsive behaviors (impulsive violence, substance abuse, motor vehicle accidents). The factors that correlated with abuse in the total sample also correlated with abuse in the community sample.
This paper examined demographic and personality characteristics of violence-free completers (n = 74) and violence repeating completers (n = 32) of a spouse abuse abatement counseling program. Chi-square analyses on categorical data, and analyses of variance on personality test data revealed several predicted findings. Compared to violence-free completers, recidivists reported higher levels of substance abuse both before and after treatment. Recidivists also showed evidence of higher narcissism, measured by the Narcissistic, Gregarious and Aggressive subscales of the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory. Referral source (self or court) did not differentiate the two groups, nor did record of criminal activity. Subsequent discriminant function analysis, entering all predicted variables, correctly identified 65.4% of the recidivists and 73.1% of violence-free completers. Clinical and research implications of the findings are discussed.
This study examined the differences between 97 abducting and 60 nonabducting child molesters on selected typological and antisocial/criminal variables. Although the results supported one a priori hypothesis, they disconfirmed two others and yielded an unpredicted but theoretically interesting abductor covariate. Our hypothesis that child abductors would more likely be classified as "low" in their contact with children (i.e., have little or no contact with children outside of their offenses) than the nonabductors was supported. In contrast, our hypotheses that the abductors were more likely to be characterized by a history of antisocial and criminal behavior as well as a greater degree of aggression were not supported. Abductors were found to be lower in social competence than the child molesters who never abducted their victims. The results were discussed in terms of abduction as in victim control strategy that is more likely employed by offenders with poor social and interpersonal skills. The complex interrelation among social competence, weapons, and sadism for abductors and nonabductors was explored.
Distress Outcomes Regressed on the Independent Variables by Sex of Respondent (Female N = 99, Male N = 47) 
This study examines how parents of family and nonfamily abducted children cope with stress due to the disappearance of their child. The results show that all parents experience distress, regardless of whether it was a family or nonfamily abduction. Associated with parental distress are factors such as prior family stress, age of the child, recovery status of the child, and measures of social support. More specifically, helpful support from friends has been found to decrease parents' levels of distress, whereas unhelpful support from family and attorneys may increase distress. Mothers and fathers responded to event circumstances and social support in significantly different ways. The need for further research is discussed in the study's conclusions.
We collected data from 447 women (aged 18 or higher) from seven domestic violence programs and five substance use disorder treatment programs in a midwestern state. Women who reported a nonabusive natural/adoptive father or stepfather (N = 185), abusive natural/adoptive father or stepfather (N = 200), or absent father figure (N = 40) were compared on a series of mental health measures with multivariate analysis of variance and pairwise post hoc comparisons using the Bonferroni test. Women with absent father figures were found to have significantly lower mean scores on the Beck Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and Trauma Symptom Checklist-40 (TSC-40) than women with abusive fathers. There were no significant differences between women with absent father figures and women with nonabusive father figures on the Beck Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, and TSC-40. Implications for research, practice, and policy are discussed.
Recent concerns have been expressed that youths are an increasingly violent segment of U.S. society. This report explores such claims by presenting alternative dimensions with which trends in youth violence can be interpreted. Using Uniform Crime Reports and U.S. Bureau of the Census data for 1958-1993, rates of arrests for murder, taken to represent absolute levels of involvement in this form of violence, are analyzed for trends among 15-to 19-years-olds. Relative involvement, operationalized as the ratio of arrest rates for those aged 15-19 to those of the remainder of the population, is also analyzed for trends. A pronounced upward trend since the mid-1980s in both rates and ratios of arrests for murder is found for ages 15-19, resulting in this group now having the highest levels of absolute and relative involvement in murder arrests of any age category, a distinct departure from previous years. As a context for interpreting these levels, the involvement of current 15- to 19-year-olds is shown to exceed by a considerable margin the involvement of similarly aged cohorts of baby boomers, a youth group formerly the object of considerable public concern. Research is encouraged that addresses the multifaceted sources contributing to this dramatic societal shift in age-related patterns of arrests for murder and, by assumption, involvement in homicide offending.
This study compared responses of masters and doctoral level counseling students to two domestic violence scenarios. Participants read a two paragraph description of a battering incident involving either a heterosexual or lesbian couple and then gave their impressions via a series of open and closed ended questions. Scenarios were identical save the manipulation of sexual partner as same or opposite sex. Experience and/or education with battered and/or gay/lesbian clients is also examined. Results indicated that subjects perceived the heterosexual battering incident as more violent than the lesbian battering incident and would be more likely to charge the male batterer than the female batterer with assault. Differences in treatment recommendations were made according to sexual orientation of the victim. Less than half of the respondents had coursework or practical experience pertaining to domestic violence and/or gay/lesbian concerns.
The role of social support in moderating the impact of childhood sexual abuse on adult psychological adjustment was examined. Subjects included 475 women, age 18-45, some of whom were currently receiving treatment, others who were not. Women in the treatment group were receiving therapy for either alcoholism, for being battered, or for mental health problems. The comparison group was drawn from two sources: a random household sample and a sample of women attending drinking driver classes. Among both groups, women who had been sexually abused exhibited more psychological symptoms and lower self-esteem compared to those who were not abused. Latency of disclosure of childhood sexual abuse had no impact on long-term consequences of the abuse for either the treatment or the comparison group. However, among women in the comparison group, those who experienced supportive reactions following disclosure of sexual abuse had fewer psychological symptoms and somewhat higher self-esteem relative to those who did not receive support. Social support had no apparent effect on the long-term adjustment of women in the treatment group. Possible explanations for this pattern and directions for future research are discussed.
Rankings of 42 Behaviors on the Measure of Psychologically Abusive Behaviors (Continued)
A detailed analysis of the occurrence of serious psychological abuse (PSYAB) in one's “worst relationship” was solicited from a nationwide sample of adults in the United States. To designate that they experienced any of the psychologically abusive behaviors, respondents had to have perceived malignant intent by the perpetrator. Respondents reported significant rates of the presence and frequency for 14 specified categories of serious PSYAB as well as for the 42 individual behaviors constituting these categories (i.e., 3 per category). The 3 behaviors within each category frequently co-occurred even though they represented distinct manifestations and increasing levels of severity for that type of PSYAB. Only some of the behaviors demonstrated a relationship between frequency of that behavior in a relationship and subsequent emotional and behavioral impact. Neither demographics nor social desirability were strongly related to report of partner PSYAB.
Intimate partner violence (IPV) damages a woman's physical and mental well-being, and indicates that her children are likely to experience abuse, neglect and other traumatic experiences. Adult HMO members completed a questionnaire about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) including childhood abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. We used their responses to retrospectively assess the relationship between witnessing intimate partner violence and experiencing any of the 9 ACEs and multiple ACEs (ACE score). Compared to persons who grew up with no domestic violence, the adjusted odds ratio for any individual ACE was approximately two to six times higher if IPV occurred (p < 0.05). There was a powerful graded increase in the prevalence of every category of ACE as the frequency of witnessing IPV increased. In addition, the total number of ACEs was increased dramatically for persons who had witnessed IPV during childhood. There was a positive graded risk for self-reported alcoholism, illicit drug use, i.v. drug use and depressed affect as the frequency of witnessing IPV increased. Identification of victims of IPV must include screening of their children for abuse, neglect and other types of adverse exposures, as well as recognition that substance abuse and depressed affect are likely consequences of witnessing IPV. Finally, this data strongly suggest that future studies, which focus on the effect of witnessing IPV on long-term health outcomes, may need to take into consideration the co-occurrence of multiple ACEs, which can also affect these outcomes.
Point Biserial Correlations Between MCSDS and CTS2 Annual Incidence Rates Correlation Coefficients Females {n = 146) Males {n = 47) 
Little is still known about the degree to which social desirability affects reports of partner abuse. The current study builds on existing research exploring the relationship between social desirability and partner abuse reports by analyzing 49 male and 155 female students' responses to the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2) and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MCSDS). Sex differences were not associated with partner abuse rates, regardless of type, severity, and violence role. Women had significantly higher social desirability scores than men, and women's MCSDS scores were negatively correlated with partner abuse perpetration and victimization rates. Social desirability was a significant predictor of psychological abuse perpetration, whereas gender was a significant predictor of sexual coercion perpetration. In all partner abuse cases, however, social desirability and gender accounted for less than 10% of the variance in partner abuse reports.
The contribution of psychological abuse, beyond that of physical abuse, to battered women's psychological adjustment and their intentions to terminate their abusive relationships was examined. Sixty-eight battered women residing in shelters for battered women provided information on their: (1) physical and psychological abuse; (2) psychological symptomatology; (3) strategies for coping with and perceptions of control over partner violence; and (4) intentions to return to their abusive partners. Multiple regression analyses indicated that frequency and severity of physical abuse was not a significant predictor of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology nor of women's intentions to terminate their abusive relationships. However, psychological abuse was a significant predictor of both PTSD symptomatology and intentions to permanently leave abusive partners even after controlling for the effects of physical abuse. PTSD symptomatology moderated the relationship between psychological abuse and intentions to terminate the abusive relationships: resolve to leave the abusive partner as a function of level of psychological abuse was significant only among women characterized by low levels of PTSD symptomatology. Greater use of emotion-focused coping strategies, absolutely and relative to problem-focused coping, had direct effects on PTSD symptomatology. However, neither coping nor perceptions of control moderated the effects of psychological abuse on psychological adjustment. The results of the investigation suggested that psychological abuse and ensuing PTSD symptomatology are important variables to assess among physically battered women.
Increasing arrests of women for domestic violence (DV) in the wake of mandatory arrest laws have generated significant concern among victim advocates, researchers, and practitioners. It is commonly believed that many, if not most, of the women arrested are victims who were acting in self-defense. Understanding how these cases are handled by prosecutors and judges is important if we wish to minimize the negative consequences of these errant arrests. The present study examines factors prosecutors in a large southern city considered when accepting or rejecting DV cases involving female defendants. The results indicate that almost one half (47%) of the cases involving women arrested for DV against a heterosexual intimate partner were rejected by prosecutors; another 16% were dismissed by a judge. Legal factors like a defendant's prior criminal arrests, use of a weapon, victim injury, and, most important, the type of arrest (i. e., dual vs. single arrest) all affected prosecutors' decisions to take these cases. Female defendants arrested for offending against a male intimate partner were treated more leniently than male defendants and women arrested for domestic offenses involving other types of relationships (i. e., familial, homosexual). The results highlight the need for a further study of officers' arrest decisions in cases involving heterosexual intimate partners.
Our understanding of the adverse effects of early child physical and sexual abuse has developed to a point where there is need to elucidate the processes by which various developmental outcomes occur. Limited variability on key measures of family stress and in youths' drug use, other delinquent behavior and abuse histories in the general population has limited theory development. Using data from an ongoing, longitudinal study of juvenile detainees, we test a developmental damage model of the relationships among the youths' family background and problem factors, their sexual victimization and physical abuse experiences, and their substance use and delinquent behavior over time. The hypothesized model was supported by the data. Theoretical and policy implications of the results are drawn. In particular, early intervention with high-risk youths and their families is needed to address effectively their problems and troubled behavior before drug use and delinquent careers become firmly established.
The purpose of the present study was to determine the effect of sex differences and seriousness of the abuse situation on observers' attributions of responsibility for origin and solution to both partners in a couple. Male and female undergraduate students (N = 354) read a vignette about a wife abuse incident. The results supported the victim activation hypothesis, with wives being held more responsible for the solution than for the origin of the problem. In contrast, husbands were held more responsible for the origin than for the solution to the problem. Overall, there were sex differences for attributions of responsibility to the husband but not for those to the wife. Women were more likely than men to attribute origin and solution responsibility to the husband. There was no clear support for the effects of the seriousness of the abuse situation. Husbands were attributed more control over the problem's solution than were wives.
This longitudinal study examined the associations between relationship abuse, coping variables, and mental health outcomes among a sample of battered women obtained from shelter and nonresidential community agencies (N = 61). Sexual aggression was a stronger predictor of poorer mental health than was physical assault. Engagement coping strategies were generally predictive of positive mental health, and disengagement coping strategies were generally predictive of poorer mental health. Results highlight the complexity of the associations between different forms of relationship abuse, coping strategies, and mental health among this population.
Community-recruited women (n = 1490) were interviewed about their early and adult sexual victimization histories to determine whether there was an association between child sexual abuse and adult revictimization by sex partners and strangers/nonsex partners. Adolescent sexual abuse, lifetime sex-trading, drug treatment, and mental health treatment were examined as mediating variables. One-fourth of the women had been revictimized (i.e., experienced child sexual abuse and at least one instance of adult sexual victimization). Child sexual abuse was associated with both rape and other sexual victimization by a sex partner in adulthood, as well as adult rape by a stranger/nonsex partner. Drug and mental health treatments reduced abused women's chances of being raped by a sex partner; drug treatment also decreased the likelihood of other sexual victimization by a sex partner. Sex-trading increased abused women's likelihood of rape by a stranger or nonsex partner. Intervention--including drug treatment--can help women with child sexual abuse histories overcome some of the abuse-related sequelae that make them vulnerable to adult revictimization.
The purpose of this study was to examine gay male relationships where domestic violence was present. Qualitative data for this endeavor were collected by conducting in-depth interviews over an 8-month period with 25 men who self-identified both as homosexual and as victims or perpetrators of domestic violence. Implications are made throughout this piece for further research and analysis regarding gay male domestic violence. Findings include the prominent similarities between heterosexual domestic violence and the perceptions of abuse experienced by the respondents in this study with respect to definitions of the situation, actual experiences and reasons for remaining in abusive relationships. Additionally, the need for both family-based and community-based support services are documented.
We investigated correlates of partner abuse in male same-sex relationships in a randomly selected community sample (N = 186). We included factors associated with abuse in heterosexual relationships, as well as factors of relevance to gay relationships. We assessed perpetration and receipt of partner abuse to examine whether variables were associated independently with abuse perpetration and/or receipt. Correlates of same-sex partner abuse were largely parallel to established correlates of heterosexual abuse. Income, education, and attachment orientation were associated with bidirectional partner abuse, and family violence and substance use were uniquely associated with victimization. Further, there were factors unique to same-sex partner abuse; HIV status and public outness were associated with bidirectional partner abuse, and internalized homophobia was uniquely associated with abuse perpetration.
Given the high rates of partner abuse (PA) among sexual minority men with HIV, it is surprising that this phenomenon remains largely understudied in this group. The extant literature reveals little about the lived experiences of the men who experience abuse in their primary relationships. Furthermore, the role of meaning making in recovery from PA remains unclear for any demographic group. Knowledge of such appraisals may provide insight into the ways that sexual minority men with HIV understand or assign value to their abuse experiences. Here, we aim to qualitatively explore the ways in which such men (N = 28) find meaning following their experiences of PA. In general, most men reported a sense of personal strength from having endured and survived PA. Surprisingly, the men did not link their postabuse recovery experiences to their sexual minority identity nor to their HIV status. Some men mentioned an increased sense of agency and attention to their own needs in their postabuse lives. With the exception of positive relationships with providers, the men described little use of peer or family support and ongoing social isolation.
Male and female university students (N = 171) read scenarios describing a domestic abuse incident that systematically varied the sex of victim and perpetrator to produce four between-participants conditions. Results were consistent with and extended previous findings about perceptions of heterosexual domestic abuse to include gay and lesbian domestic abuse. Findings suggest that participant perceptions of abuse in same-sex and heterosexual relationships are similar. Where they differ, the differences have significant implications: (a) participants considered male against female abuse to be more serious than same-sex domestic abuse, (b) participants were more likely to recommend that the victim press charges in male against female abuse than in same-sex domestic abuse, (c) participants perceived same-sex victims to be less believable than heterosexual victims, and (d) victim believability was correlated with sentencing recommendations. Implications for criminal justice and mental health intervention are considered. Directions for future research are outlined.
The association between the presence of children and woman abuse was investigated. Data were collected from 419 women who had called the police because of an abusive incident involving their male partner. Minor children were present in the home in 3/4 of the cases and were frequent witnesses to the abusive incident. In more than 1/2 of the cases, children had witnessed the assault according to the victims; 2/3 of the victims reported that children had seen the police when they arrived. There was almost no association between the presence of children in the home and assault on women: the presence of children was not associated with cumulative incidence of abuse, severity of abuse, degree of injury, or the victim's decision-making process in calling the police. However, police were more likely to provide information and referrals to shelters when children were present.
This study sought to understand the reasons for the lack of use of ICD diagnostic codes for child and adult abuse. New Jersey professionals were recruited to participate in three focus groups on child abuse, adult or primarily woman abuse, and elder abuse. Participants included health care providers, advocates from the community, and representatives of state agencies and the insurance industry. Concerns about coding abuse included further jeopardizing victims/patients, diagnostic uncertainty, and lack of resources. Members of the child abuse group were somewhat more receptive to coding abuse. Reasons to code, such as for documentation and reimbursement were discussed and rebutted. Most participants concluded that use of the abuse codes should be judicious because they have the potential to do more harm than good. More research is needed on the implications of coding for victims/patients along with medical education in the identification of abuse in general and coding abuse in particular.
This study examined differences in offenders' background characteristics, personal and interpersonal problems, and family climate between three types of child abuse offenders (neglecters, physical abusers, and psychological abusers) and two forms of spouse abuse offenders (physical abusers and psychological abusers) in two large samples (child abuse n = 2,910; spouse abuse; n = 7,035) of cases officially identified over a 8-year period (1988-1995) by the U.S. Air Force Family Advocacy Program. Comparisons addressed demographic factors, personal and interpersonal problems, and aspects of family climate. Among child abusers, results supported the conclusion that types of child abuse varied with offender demographics and family climate factors. For spouse abusers, however, types of abuse were not as distinctly different in terms of the comparison variables. In general, therefore, for child abuse--but not for spouse abuse--findings challenge the view of abuse as a unitary phenomenon.
Risk for adult mental health problems associated with child sexual, physical, or emotional abuse and multiple types of child abuse was examined. Logistic regression analyses were used to test study hypotheses in a population-based sample of women (N = 3,936). As expected, child sexual, physical, and emotional abuse were independently associated with increased risk for mental health problems. History of multiple types of child abuse was also associated with elevated risk for mental health problems. In particular, exposure to all three types of child abuse was linked to a 23-fold increase in risk for probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Findings underscore relations between child emotional abuse and adult mental health problems and highlight the need for mental health services for survivors of multiple types of child abuse.
Friedrich and Boriskin's (1976) seminal review presented compelling evidence pointing toward the contribution of child factors in heightening risk for physical abuse. Indeed, many authors currently accept that certain child characteristics (e.g., prematurity, low birthweight) can directly lead to abuse. Much of the data in this area, however, is based on methodologically weak designs, and recent findings do not support the premise that children have a major role in the etiology of abuse. There is some suggestion that children with relatively circumscribed features may add to risk in families that already exhibit additional factors predisposing them to maltreatment. This paper re-examines the role of the child in abuse, reviews recent relevant research findings, and offers new directions that research in this area might take.
Pacific peoples are a rapidly growing but socially disadvantaged segment of New Zealand society. Within this context, individuals may be particularly vulnerable to the experience of intimate partner violence (IPV). The aim of the study was to establish the association between the experience of maternal and/or paternal emotional or physical abuse and current severe physical partner violence perpetration or victimization among a cohort of Pacific women. Paternal physical abuse was the only statistically significant risk factor from childhood parenting history that was independently associated with severe physical perpetration and victimization within the mother's current intimate partner relationship (RR 2.6). These findings highlight the deleterious effect of paternal physical violence on subsequent IPV and contribute to the development of empirically based and considered ways to approach these complex phenomena.
Means and Standard Deviations of the Four Experimental Groups on the Dependent Variables 
The outcome of two sexual abuse prevention programs, one emphasizing victim empathy and the other stressing modifying rape myths, was evaluated with high-risk males. Sixty-eight high-risk males, as determined by self-reported likelihood of committing sexual abuse, were randomly assigned to an empathy-treatment, a facts-treatment, or a no-treatment control group. Treatment effects were assessed using subjects' pre- and post-treatment scores on the Likelihood of Sexually Abusing scale, the Rape Empathy Scale, the Acceptance of Interpersonal Violence scale, the Adversarial Sexual Beliefs Scale, and a test of self-reported sexual arousal to forced versus consenting sex. In addition, posttest scores on an Asch-type conformity measure were obtained. Results of validity checks indicated that high-risk subjects differed from low-risk subjects on a number of rape-related variables, that the victim-empathy condition increased subjects' empathy, and that subjects found both treatments to be credible and helpful. Comparisons between the empathy-, facts-, and no-treatment group contraindicated the practice of dispelling rape myths as a method of preventing rape among high-risk males.
Little is known about the reliability of self-reported child physical abuse (CPA) or CPA reporting practices. We estimated reliability and prevalence of self-reported CPA and identified factors predictive of inconsistent CPA reporting among 2,256 participants using surveys administered in 1995 and 2000. Reliability of CPA was fair to moderate (kappa = 0.41). Using a positive report from either survey, the prevalence of moderate (61.8%) and severe (12.0%) CPA was higher than at either survey alone. Compared to consistent reporters of having experienced CPA, inconsistent reporters were less likely to be > or = 30 years old (vs. 18-29) or Black (vs. White) and more likely to have < 12 years of education (vs. 12), have no alcohol-related problems (vs. having problems), or report one type (vs. > or = 2) of CPA. These findings may assist researchers conducting and interpreting studies of CPA.
Mean of mental health status indicators 
Characteristics of the abuse 
The goal of this study was to determine which variables distinguish resilient victims from drug-addicted victims, who were sexually abused during their childhood--in addition, to measure the contribution of these variables to the level of distress experienced by the victims. There were two groups of 20 women interviewed. The resilient group showed no clinically significant symptoms of mental distress, and the addicted group were undergoing treatment for drug dependency. They all completed a semi-structured interview and a questionnaire regarding the type and severity of their sexual abuse, mental health status, self-esteem, locus of control, support and cognitive factors from Finkelhor's model. Both of these groups were equally and severely abused. Resilient and addicted women both received a moderate level of support. These women also reported the same sense of betrayal and powerlessness. Furthermore, both groups believe, to a large degree, that they now control what happens to them (internal locus of control). There were three distinguishing variables among the two groups, they were stigmatization, self-blame, and hazard for the locus of control. In comparison, resilient women had less self-blame for having been abused and they also felt less stigmatized than addicted women. In fact, stigmatization and self-blame account for 65% of the TSC-40 variance. These results suggest that cognitive strategies, particularly those that are linked to the interpretation of the event, may have some importance in the recovery.
This article's goals are to identify the characteristics of abusive heterosexual dating relationships among adolescents. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health dataset, an analysis of 4,441 heterosexual relationships was completed using logistic regression models (SAS PROC GENMOD). The associations between being verbally and physically abused were examined with respect to the following relationship characteristics: involvement in sexual intercourse or pregnancy with the relationship partner, description of the relationship as a "special romantic relationship," duration of the relationship, age at relationship initiation, and age difference between partners. The findings indicate that involvement in a sexual or "special romantic" relationship was associated with greater likelihood of being abused in both genders. Increased length of time in the relationship was associated with verbal abuse in both genders. Involvement in a pregnancy was associated with being verbally and physically abused among males. It is thus concluded that relationship characteristics play an important role in the development of abusive relationships among adolescents.
Top-cited authors
Donald G. Dutton
  • University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Daniel George Saunders
  • University of Michigan
Richard Tolman
  • University of Michigan
Ståle Valvatne Einarsen
  • University of Bergen
L. Kevin Hamberger
  • Medical College of Wisconsin