Project: Research project

Project Details


It is estimated that over 3 million couples yearly experience acts of
domestic violence that may cause serious injury to a spouse, usually the
female partner. Very little is known, however, about the etiology of
domestic violence, particularly across ethnic groups and individual,
couple, and cultural factors. Funding is sought for 2 years to conduct
a study of domestic violence in Latino and Anglo couples. A repeated
measures ANOVA design, using gender as a within-subjects factor, will be
used, with couples falling into one of three groups: non-
distressed/nonviolent; distressed/non-violent, and distressed/violent,
with 30 Latino and 30 Anglo couples in each group.

In this study, the hypothesized etiological factors for domestic violence
are the following: imbalances in relationship power and dissatisfaction
with those imbalances; family of origin violence, high alcohol use,
permissive attitudes toward violence, high levels of perceived stress,
and psychopathology. It is expected that in Anglo couples, both power
imbalance and dissatisfaction with that imbalance will be significantly
related to domestic violence. It is anticipated that Latinos will have
higher imbalances in power but only dissatisfaction with those imbalances
will be significantly related to violence. Further, it is expected that
within the Latino group, Latino-identified couples will exhibit the
highest levels of power imbalances; couples in which partners are
differentially acculturated will have the highest levels of distress; and
culturally-related stress will moderate the relationship between
dissatisfaction with power imbalances and violence. For both groups,
family of origin violence is expected to moderate power variables and
violence. Self-report, partner-report, and observational methods will be

Specific aims and long-term goals of the study are the following. First,
this study will assess how the balance of power and other variables, are
related to relationship satisfaction and domestic violence. Second,we
will explore how patterns of power are related to the occurrence of
violence across ethnicities. Third, the proposed study seeks to improve
upon existing methodology in the research on power by assessing the
construct through a multidimensional, multiple method analysis. Fourth,
this study is intended to serve as a springboard for later studies
longitudinally assessing the roles of power and cultural factors in the
development of domestic violence, with the long-term goal of developing
and evaluating culturally sensitive prevention and intervention programs.
Effective start/end date1/1/9712/31/99


  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health


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