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NCJ Number: 202640 Find in a Library
Title: Male-Initiated Partner Abuse During Marital Separation Prior to Divorce
Journal: Violence and Victims  Volume:18  Issue:4  Dated:August 2003  Pages:387-402
Author(s): Michelle L. Toews; Patrick C. McKenry; Beth S. Catlett
Date Published: August 2003
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses predictors of male-initiated psychological and physical partner abuse during the separation process prior to divorce.
Abstract: The gender-role socialization theory indicates that men use psychological and physical violence against women in order to validate or maintain their masculine gender-role identity. When a man’s power or gender-role identity is threatened, particularly by a woman, he may attempt to reestablish his masculinity through the use of physical or psychological violence. Separation and divorce threaten a man’s power and masculine identity in numerous ways, thus increasing the risk of violence. It is hypothesized that a man’s gender-role identity, various threats to a man’s gender-role identity (female-initiated divorce, dependency on former wife, and feelings of depression), and power conflicts (coparental conflict) would predict psychological abuse during separation. Another hypothesis was that a masculine gender-role identity, threats to a man’s masculine identity, power conflicts, and male-initiated psychological abuse would predict the probability of physical abuse occurring during the separation process. A sample of 80 divorced fathers that reported no physical violence during their marriages was used. The results show that, from both psychological and sociological approaches, coparenting after separation and divorce presents a situation that has the potential to engender male violent behaviors toward the female intimate. From a social perspective, fathers suffer from several stressors or life events associated with the separation, including loss of access to children. Separation and divorce also prompt shifts of gender relations in families, and as a result, many men attempt to reestablish a dominant masculinity in terms of their power, authority, and control. Men are vulnerable during this life transition and will be more likely to have to deal with the issues of dependence, attachment, anxiety, and depression that may arise in their interactions with former spouses. In future research, gender-role socialization theory could be effectively integrated with a social stress paradigm to fully explain psychological and physical male-initiated abuse during marital separation. 3 tables, 83 references
Main Term(s): Abusing spouses; Domestic violence causes
Index Term(s): Battered wives; Domestic relations; Marital problems; Stress assessment; Violence; Violence causes
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