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Wife's Marital Dependency and Wife Abuse

Debra S. Kalmuss and Murray A. Straus
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 44, No. 2 (May, 1982), pp. 277-286
DOI: 10.2307/351538
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351538
Page Count: 10
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Wife's Marital Dependency and Wife Abuse
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Abstract

Data from a nationally representative sample of 2,143 adult men & women were used to explore the relationship between wives' dependency on marriage and wife abuse. While family violence researchers have posited such a relationship, it has not been empirically demonstrated. The independent variables were indexes of wives' objective (economic) and subjective (perceived) marital dependency. The dependent variables assessed the presence of acts of physical aggression toward wives that carried a high risk of serious injury (severe violence) and those that did not carry such a risk (minor violence). Both dimensions of dependency were positively related to abuse. However, wives' subjective marital dependency was significantly related to minor, but not severe violence, and wives' objective marital dependency followed the opposite pattern. These results indicate that it is economic and not psychological dependency which keeps women in severely abusive marriages.

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