The main topic of this paper is spouse abuse. The five sub topics are socialization and stress explanations for spousal abuse, employment and the risk of domestic violence among low income women, status relationships in marriage and the risk factors of abuse, domestic violence in African American communities, and wife abuse in urban Russian couples. It will also look at and determine what factors play a role in spousal abuse and explain to the reader how to potentially avoid spousal abuse.
Abuse happens in relationships of all races and cultures. Many do not understand how abuse is possible in a relationship but spousal abuse is becoming more and more common. The chances of spousal abuse will continue to rise until a study can determine what specific things increase the likelihood of being abused. Sletzer and Kalmuss (1988) used data from a 1976 National Survey of Family Violence and 1,436 females were asked a series of questions were asked about family interactions during the previous year.
Gibson-Davis, Magnuson, Gennetian, and Duncan’s (2005) study addresses the possible related nature of employment and abuse by asking 965 single family homes questions about abusive situations from April 1994 to March 1996. Hornung, McCullough, and Sugimoto’s (1981) study took place in 1981 and uses data from a survey of Kentucky women collected by Louis Harris and Associates for the Kentucky Commission on Women; the data was collected by telephone interviews in households selected by random digit dialing by geographic location and 1,533 couples were analyzed for this survey.
Huang and Gunn (2001) used data obtained from a 1998 campus survey in a historically Black university in a southern state in which all participants were 18 or older; there were only 140 African Americans in the final sample due to people not answering the questionnaire. Cubbins and Vannoy (2005) used data from a study from the Survey of Russian Marriages that was conducted through a cluster probability sample of adults 18-60 year old in the Moscow metropolitan area in 1996 in which 746 couples were interviewed. According to Huang and Gunn (2001), every 15 seconds, a woman is abused in some way.
Domestic violence is a crime in the United States that mostly goes unreported and is very underestimated. Many cases are not reported due to fear. Causes of spousal abuse vary depending on what survey one reads but it is easy to understand that so many things have to go right in order for spousal abuse to be avoided. African American domestic abuse is not reported or investigated often so that is what Huang and Gunn (2001) look into; they look into causes of domestic violence in the African American communities.
Cubbins and Vannoy (2005) look into urban Russian couples and if absolute socioeconomic resources effect spousal abuse. Both of these studies show different results in what is the main cause of spousal abuse. Cubbins and Vannoy (2005) find that husbands with the lowest or highest socioeconomic resources are less likely to be abusive husbands than those who are in the middle of the socioeconomic resources. This may be because those that have middle socioeconomic statuses have more standards that they have to live up to as well as more stress to deal with in the relationship.
People with low socioeconomic resources are less likely to abuse their partner because that partner is most likely working as well, which makes the income being brought in extremely important. Those with high socioeconomic resources are less likely to abuse their partner because usually this couple has everything they need as well as most of the objects they want. However, a husband’s income has no effect on the amount of abuse a relationship goes through. There could be several reasons as to why there are different cause of abuse such as cultural differences as well as different social norms.
Huang and Gunn (2001) find that the socioeconomic status does not have a big impact on spousal abuse in the African American population. Instead, having a history of family violence, the support of friends, low self-esteem, depression, and the amount of stress on the couple has a high effect on whether or not abuse takes place in the relationship according to Huang and Gunn (2001). This may be due to the fact that most of the United States population to be considered poor is the African American population. If people grow up without having many resources, then not having them while in the current relationship will not be as harsh.
This is a little confusing because one study seems to contradict the other; Cubbins and Vannoy (2005) focus specifically on the socioeconomic resources whereas Huang and Gunn (2001) focus on many aspects and socioeconomic resources is just one of them. There are many other risk factors that can tribute to spouse abuse. This can cause marriages to fall apart without hesitation. Many things that are considered abusive are not thought to be abusive when they happen. Hornung et. all (1981) discuss three different types of spousal abuse is psychological, physical, and life-threatening violence.
Psychological abuse includes insulting or swearing at the partner, sulking or refusing to talk about a conflict, stomping outside the house, doing or saying something just to spite the other, and threatening to hit or throw something at one another. Physical abuse is defined as throwing something at the other, whether there was pushing, grabbing, or shoving, whether one partner slapped the other, if there was kicking, biting, or hitting with a fist, and whether one partner tried to hit the other one with something else.
Life-threatening violence includes one beating up the other, threatening them with a knife or gun, and actually using a knife or gun on them according to the study Hornung et. all (1981) did. Two-thirds of couples in their study reported at least one type of abuse in the past year. Many people do not believe that yelling at one another, especially during an argument, is considered abusive.
Most people consider abuse to be physical. Hornung et. ll (1981) determine through their study that couples who are incompatible when it comes to employment status, occupational status, and the education of each partner will be more likely to experience abuse. Couples in which the wife or female partner has a higher education, a higher employment status, and a higher occupational status are more likely to experience abuse and violence. This could be because of traditionalism in which people believe that the woman should stay home and take care of the children instead of work.
Sletzer and Kalmuss (1988) look into why spousal abuse happens, if something in the past or present is affecting marital violence. Childhood experiences with family violence is what Sletzer and Kalmuss (1988) feel like causes marital violence instead of the common withdrawal from the spouse or partner. Huang and Gunn (2001) and Sletzer and Kalmuss (1988) both discuss how the amount of stress causes spousal abuse. Sletzer and Kalmuss (1988) find that individuals may respond to acute stress with spousal abuse whether or not they were exposed to family violence as a child.
In fact, they found that the results from their survey show that adults exposed to childhood violence as well as adults exposed to stressful situations are more likely to participate in more abuse in the marriage they are currently in but adults experiencing one or the other are less likely to participate in abuse (Sletzer and Kalmuss 1988). As research continues into what causes spousal abuse, it becomes clear to many people that it is not what has to be wrong to cause spousal abuse but what has to be right in order for abuse to not be considered an issue in the relationship.
Gibson-Davis, et. ll (2005) look into how the earning income of the single mother may affect abuse in the relationship. Hornung et. all (1981) discovered in their study that women who work while in an abusive relationship are the least likely to experience psychological and physical abuse as well as life-threatening violence. Women who remain a housewife are the most likely to experience this. Gibson-Davis, et. all (2005) find that women who work outside the home are less likely to be victims of domestic violence. The increase of income into the relationship seems to decrease the chances of abuse as well but this can be misleading (Gibson-Davis, et. ll 2005).
One reason as to why the low-income women abuse study is misleading is because the more a woman works, the more she is away from her abuser. It would be almost impossible to determine if the decrease in abuse was due to an increase in money or a decrease in the time a woman has with her attacker. This is interesting because in the study done by Cubbins and Vannoy (2005), the income of the husband or male partner is not a strong factor in abuse whereas the women’s income seems to have a great effect. It becomes clear that income does not appear to be the most significant topic related to spousal abuse.
In conclusion, this topic is best explained by Sletzer and Kalmuss (1988) when they claim that family exposure to violence is one of the most important factors in spousal abuse. Those exposed to family violence as a child observe the abuse which causes them to react in the same way because that is all that they have experienced. Stress is what usually causes conflicts to become abusive and life threatening. It is possible for stress to be the only factor when it comes to abuse but violent behavior is much more likely to occur if the perpetrator has a family history of abuse.
He or she may not have been the victim but watching abuse take place has enough effect on someone that that person may turn to violence during conflicts, especially is stress in the relationship is high. Based on all of the research presented here, the next area of research should include homosexual couples in order to determine if the causes of spousal abuse is the same or similar to heterosexual couples. Many homosexuals make more money than those of heterosexuals; usually this would increase the amount of abuse the woman would experience, but because both partners would be the same gender, would the abuse still take place?