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Male and Female Perpetrated Partner Abuse

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1

 

Chapter 2 Part 1

 

Chapter 2 Part 2

 

Chapter 2 Part 3

 

Chapter  3 Part 1

 

Chapter 3 Part 2

 

Chapter 3 Part 3

 

Chapter 3 Part 4

 

Chapter 4

 

Chapter 5 Part 1

 

Chapter 5 Part 2

 

Chapter 5 Part 3

 

Chapter 5 Part 4

 

Chapter 5 Part 5

 

Chapter 5 Part 6

 

Chapter 6 Part 1

 

Chapter 6 Part 2

 

Appendix A

 

Appendix B

 

Appendix C

 

References

Male and Female Perpetrated Partner Abuse: Testing a Diathesis-Stress Model 

by Reena Sommer

Table of Contents

Male and Female Perpetrated Partner Abuse: 
Testing a Diathesis-Stress Model 

by 
Reena Sommer

A dissertation presented to the University of Manitoba in fulfillment of the dissertation requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program

Winnipeg, Manitoba
(c) Reena Sommer, 1994
 

 

I hereby declare that I am the sole author of this dissertation. I authorize the University of Manitoba to lend this dissertation to other institutions or individuals for the purpose of scholarly research.

Reena Sommer

 

I further authorize the University of Manitoba to reproduce this dissertation by photocopying or by other means, in total or in part, at the request of other institutions or individuals for the purpose of scholarly research.

Reena Sommer

 

The University of Manitoba requires the signatures of all persons using or photocopying this dissertation. Please sign below, and give address and date.

ABSTRACT

Since the mid 1970's, the literature has seen a proliferation of research conducted in the area of family violence.  The publication of the results of Straus, Gelles and Steinmetz's (1980) national U.S. survey on family violence, has largely been responsible for raising our awareness concerning the pervasiveness of this social problem.
     In spite of this abundance of recent research, there is still a lack of longitudinal research on this topic in general population samples.
     In addition, previous studies conducted in the general population have primarily focused on the environmental influences on partner abuse.  Studies investigating individual differences as potential partner abuse risk factors have been for the most part restricted to research on clinical samples.

As part of the Winnipeg Health and Drinking Survey (a longitudinal survey of adult Winnipeg residents) (Barnes & Murray, 1989), data were gathered on spouse abuse.  This thesis examines the pattern of male and female perpetrated partner abuse and its associated risk factors.  The data of married, cohabiting and remarried males and females between the ages of 18 and 65 years collected at two points in time over two years, provided the basis for this study's analyses.  In both phases of the research, respondents participated in a 90 minute session involving a structured interview and a self administered questionnaire.

In addition to the socio-demographic data and multiple indices of alcohol and personality measures collected during Wave 1 of the data collection, Wave 2 data included measures of stress, violence in the family of origin and contextual issues surrounding the perpetration of partner abuse (i.e., drinking at the time of an abuse episode, injuries inflicted on a partner, and abuse perpetrated in self defence).  The dependent measure investigated in both waves of this study was based on six items drawn from the Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus, 1979).

This research was guided by a diathesis-stress model of partner abuse. In this model, the importance of underlying variables such as personality characteristics and violence in the family of origin, and situational variables such as stress and alcohol in predicting partner abuse were examined.  In the logistic regression analyses predicting the incidence of partner abuse in the year prior to the follow-up interview, the following significant predictors emerged for males:

  1. being young in age,

  2. non-Catholic,

  3. perpetrating past partner abuse,

  4. observing father hitting mother,

  5. experiencing high stress,

  6. the interaction between stress and past perpetrated partner abuse and

  7. the interaction between stress and age.

For females, the significant predictors were:

  1. having a high score on the EPQP,

  2. having a high score on the Neuroticism Index ,

  3. observing mother hitting father,

  4. not observing parents' mutual violence,

  5. the interaction between alcohol and neuroticism,

  6. the interaction between alcohol and observing mother hitting father, and

  7. the interaction between alcohol and past perpetrated partner abuse.

     The major contribution of this research to the literature on family violence rests in its demonstration that the experience of perpetrated partner abuse at a given point in time as well as across time, is different for males and females. This and other findings challenge researchers to find ways of preventing partner abuse before it begins.  Early identification of individuals at risk for partner abuse may be critical to providing effective intervention.  Once accomplished, the means to break the cycle of violence could be at hand.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The completion of this dissertation represents more than just a demonstration of competence as a researcher.  Rather, the process involved in its formulation and writing has provided me with an opportunity for both personal growth and development.  Beyond acquiring the skills needed to conduct research independently, I have also gained much insight into my potential as a person.  For me, the key to success has been twofold; the desire to accomplish something, and the belief that it can be done.  The latter however, could not have been possible without the support of those who have been close to me.  For that reason, there are a number of persons to whom I would like to express my gratitude.

I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with a dissertation committee as dedicated as the one that guided this research.  As a group, they provided a model for effective research direction through cooperation and placing the needs of a student ahead of others.  They are to be thanked for never settling for anything less than what they believed I was fully capable of.  I am honoured to have been associated with such a wonderful group of professionals.

As individuals, each has left an indelible mark on my life that will not be forgotten.  Dr. Gordon Barnes has served as my research advisor across two degrees.  His expert direction, experience and knowledge have contributed to my development as a researcher.  He is a mentor in the truest sense.  Dr. Carol Harvey has also been a member of my thesis committee across two degrees.  Her optimism and sensitivity toward others have never compromised the high standards she sets for herself, her students and faculty.  Dr. Shiva Halli through his endless patience and encouragement has demonstrated that the process of data analysis need not be impossible.  Finally, Dr. Neil Malamuth, my external examiner contributed considerable insight into the research conducted, and provided me with a number of thought provoking challenges.

My friends in the Family Studies Graduate Program have been, and still remain a source of support and friendship to me.  I have been very fortunate to have been associated with a group of such bright and articulate women.  I would also like to acknowledge the assistance of Dr. David Patton, Ken Kramer and Lou-Ellen Armstrong with the data analyses as well as the help of Leonie Stranc who was my Word Perfect editor "extraordinaire".

I would like to thank those who are closest to me; my family. Throughout my graduate student years they have shared the highs and the lows; my successes as well as my disappointments and frustrations.  Yet, in spite of the often tumultuous times, they have all been a source of support and comfort.  My husband, Michael has borne the brunt of much of my frustration, and for his unwavering belief in my ability, I am forever grateful.

Finally, I would like to dedicate this research to one very special little girl; my daughter, Leah Rachael Sommer Thomas.  Since the moment of her conception, she has had to share her Mommy with this very demanding piece of work.  For all the times, you had to wait "just another moment until I jot this down", I  thank you Leah; for all your understanding, your patience and most of all, for your love.  Without your cooperation, the completion of this research could not have been accomplished as expeditiously nor as effectively as it has.
 

Next: Chapter 1

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT

iv

   

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

vi

   

TABLE OF CONTENTS

viii

   

LIST OF TABLES

xii

   

LIST OF FIGURES

xv

   

 

 

CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION

1

 

   

 

Distinguishing Between Male and Female Perpetrated Abuse

2

 

   

 

Defining Partner Abuse

4

 

   

 

Statement of the Problem

5

 

   

CHAPTER 2 - LITERATURE REVIEW

7

 

   

 

Partner Abuse Methodology

7

 

   

 

Prevalence of Partner Abuse

9

 

General Population Based Surveys

9

 

Clinically Based Data

12

 

Data Gathered from Convenience Samples

13

 

Summary

14

 

Risk Factors in Partner Abuse

15

 

   

 

Socio-demographic Risk Factors

15

 

Socio-economic Status

16

 

Age

18

 

Marital Status

20

 

Religion

22

 

Race

23

 

Family of Origin

26

 

Stress

29

 

Summary

31

 

Alcohol Consumption

32

 

Theoretical basis of alcohol-related violence

33

 

Variables linking alcohol consumption to violence

34

 

Summary

38

 

Personality

39

 

Summary

42

 

Theories of Partner Abuse

44

 

   

 

Sociological Perspectives

45

 

Resource Theory

45

 

Social Learning Theory

46

 

Conflict Theory

47

 

Stress Theory

49

 

Summary

50

 

Psychological Perspectives

51

 

Psychoanalytic Theory

51

 

Disinhibition Theory

51

 

Personality Theory

52

 

Summary

54

 

Family Systems Perspective

54

 

Feminist Perspectives

55

 

Cycle of Violence

56

 

Summary

57

 

Summary of Theoretical Approaches

57

 

   

CHAPTER THREE - WINNIPEG HEALTH AND DRINKING SURVEY WAVE 1

59

 

   

 

Sample Selection and Description

60

 

   

 

Procedure for Data Collection

60

 

   

 

Response Rate

61

 

   

 

Data Analysis

63

 

   

 

Major Findings

64

 

Male Data

64

 

Female Data

66

 

Limitations of Wave 1 Partner Abuse Data

67

 

   

 

Diathesis-Stress Model

70

 

The Present Study: Application to Partner Abuse

71

 

Assumptions Underlying the Project

74

 

   

 

Objectives

74

 

Primary

74

 

Secondary

74

 

   

 

Research Hypotheses

75

 

   

CHAPTER FIVE - RESULTS

90

   

 

Examining the Data

90

 

Reliability of Scales

90

 

Internal consistency of the measures

90

 

Test-retest reliability of the measures

94

 

Rates of Attrition

96

   

 

Descriptive Analyses

100

 

Wave 2 Demographic Characteristics

100

 

Age

100

 

Marital status

101

 

Educational Status

101

 

Current employment status

101

 

Income

101

 

Religious preference

102

 

Race

102

 

Rates of Perpetrated Partner Abuse

104

 

Prevalence of perpetrated partner abuse

104

 

Comparison of Wave 1 and Wave 2 prevalence rates of perpetrated partner abuse

105

 

Recency of perpetrated partner abuse

106

 

Incidence of perpetrated partner abuse

106

 

Perpetrated Partner Abuse and Related Characteristics

108

 

Demographic characteristics

108

 

Level of alcohol consumption

111

 

Context and effect of abuse

113

 

Life stress events

113

 

Violence in the family of origin

117

 

Correlations Among Variables

118

 

Demographic Variables and Perpetrated Partner Abuse

119

 

Life Stress Events and Perpetrated Partner Abuse

124

 

Exposure to Violence in the Family of Origin and Perpetrated Partner Abuse

124

 

Alcohol Consumption and Dependence and Perpetrated Partner Abuse

126

 

Personality Measures and Perpetrated Partner Abuse

129

 

Testing the Diathesis-Stress Model of Partner

135

 

Logistic Regression Analyses

135

 

Male Data

136

 

Female Data 

144

 

Hypothesis Testing

151

   

 

Summary of the Results

158

   

REFERENCES 
 

198

 

 

 

APPENDICES
 

 

 

Appendix A: Letter of Introduction

217

 

Appendix B: Independent Measures

219

 

Appendix C: Dependent Measures
 

246

 

 

LIST OF TABLES
 

 

Table 1: Demographic Characteristics of the Married and Cohabiting Sample (Wave 1 Data)

61

Table 2: Male Perpetrated Violence (Wave 1 Data)

64

Table 3: Standard Multiple Regression Analyses Predicting Male Perpetrated Partner Abuse (Wave 1 Data)

65

Table 4: Female Perpetrated Violence (Wave 1 Data)

66

Table 5: Standard Multiple Regression Analyses Predicting Female Perpetrated Partner Abuse (Wave 1 Data)

67

Table 6: Cronbach's Alpha Coefficients for Male and Female Respondents in Wave 1 and Wave 2 

94

Table 7: Test-Retest Reliabilities: Pearson's Correlation Coefficients on Wave 1 and Wave 2 Measures for Male and Female Respondents

95

Table 8: Sample Attrition by Demographic and Partner Abuse Variables for Married and Remarried Male and Female Respondents who Participated in Wave 1

97

Table 9: Personality Alcohol and Partner Abuse Scores by  Study Participation for Married and Remarried Male and Female Respondents

99

Table 10: Demographic Characteristics of the Wave 2 Sample of Married Cohabiting and Remarried Males and Females from Wave 2 

103

Table 11: Wave 2 Perpetrated Partner Abuse Prevalence Rates by Married Cohabiting Remarried Males and Females

105

Table 12: Partner Abuse Perpetrated During the Past Year by gender

107

Table 13: Incidence of Perpetrated Partner Abuse During the Past Year by Demographics for Male Respondents

109

Table 14: Incidence of Perpetrated Partner Abuse During the Past Year by Demographics for Female Respondents

110

Table 15: Mean CTS Scores for the Prevalence of  Perpetrated Partner Abuse by Drinking Level for  Males and Females Based on Wave 1 and Wave 2

112

Table 16: Mean Number of Partner Abuse Incidents  Perpetrated During the Past Year by Drinking   Level for Males and Females based on Wave 2 Data

112

Table 17: Perpetrated Partner Abuse by Stress During the Past Two Years

114

Table 18: Stress by Perpetrated Partner Abuse and Gender (Weighted Scale)

115

Table 19: Stress by Perpetrated Partner Abuse and  Gender (Unweighted Scale)

117

Table 20: Pearson Correlation Coefficients: Demographic Variables and Perpetrated Partner Abuse Comparing  Wave 1 and Wave 2 Data Based on the Same Sample  of Male Respondents

122

Table 21: Pearson Correlation Coefficients: Demographic  Variables and Perpetrated Partner Abuse Comparing  Wave 1 and Wave 2 Data Based on the Same Sample of   Female Respondents

123

Table 22: Pearson Correlation Coefficients: Stress  Experienced During the Past Two Years and Current  Perpetrated Partner Abuse among Males and Females  Based on Wave 2 Data

124

Table 23: Pearson Correlation Coefficients: Violence  in the Family of Origin and Perpetrated Partner  Abuse by Male and Female Respondents

125

Table 24: Pearson Correlation Coefficients: Alcohol  Consumption and Dependence and Perpetrated Partner  Abuse Comparing Wave 1 and Wave 2 Data Based on   the Same Sample of Male Respondents

127

Table 25: Pearson Correlation Coefficients: Alcohol  Consumption and Dependence and Perpetrated Partner  Abuse Comparing Wave 1 and Wave 2 Data Based on   the Same Sample of Female Respondents

129

Table 26: Pearson Correlation Coefficients: Personality  Measures and Perpetrated Partner Abuse Comparing  Wave 1 and Wave 2 Data Based on the Same Sample of   Male Respondents 

131

Table 27: Pearson Correlation Coefficients: Personality  Measures and Perpetrated Partner Abuse Comparing  Wave 1 and Wave 2 Data Based on the Same Sample of   Female Respondents

134

Table 28: Coefficients Representing the Main Effects of Diathesis and Stress Measures and their Interactions   on the Log Odds of Perpetrating Current Partner Abuse  among Males based on Wave 1 and Wave 2 data

143

Table 29: Coefficients Representing the Main Effects  of Diathesis and Stress Measures and their   Interactions on the Log Odds of Perpetrating  Current Partner Abuse among Females based on  Wave 1 and Wave 2 data
 

150

LIST OF FIGURES
 

Figure 1: Diathesis-Stress Model of Partner Abuse

73

Figure 2: Stress by Partner Abuse and Gender (Based on Unweighted Stress Scale Means)

116

Figure 3: Percentage of Males Reporting Current  Partner Abuse by Age by Stress

139

Figure 4: Percentage of Males Reporting Current  Partner Abuse by Past Abuse by Stress

140

Figure 5: Percentage of Females Reporting Current  Partner Abuse by Neuroticism by Alcohol

146

Figure 6: Percentage of Females Reporting Current  Partner Abuse by Mother Hitting Father by Alcohol

147

Figure 7: Percentage of Females Reporting Current  Partner Abuse by Past Abuse by Alcohol

 

148

___________
Updates:
2001 02 10 (format changes)
2003 10 01 (format changes)