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Violence in Divorce Prone Families

John E. O'Brien
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 33, No. 4, Special Double Issue: Violence and the Family and Sexism in Family Studies, Part 2 (Nov., 1971), pp. 692-698
DOI: 10.2307/349443
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/349443
Page Count: 7
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Violence in Divorce Prone Families
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Abstract

In order to conduct a study of family instability, a sample of 150 individuals were interviewed who were recently involved in a divorce action. The incidence of reported intrafamily violence was fifteen percent. The violent behavior was primarily delivered by husbands who were characteristically underachievers in the work/earner role and who were deficient in certain status characteristics relative to their wives. This was interpreted as a special form of status inconsistency, whereby the superior ascribed status category of person (husband-male) was deficient in achieved status characteristics. This was taken as evidence that violence in the family may have an etiology similar to that in the larger society, with violent behavior most often involving the use of coercive force by members of a superordinate status at times when they find their stature threatened.

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