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Dominance and Domestic Abuse Among Mexican Americans: Gender Differences in the Etiology of Violence in Intimate Relationships

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 17 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 315-340
Yoko Sugihara; Judith Ann Warner
Date Published
December 2002
26 pages
This study examined gender differences in dominance and aggressive behavior in intimate relationships among Mexican-Americans.
Dominance has been identified as a risk factor in the genesis of domestic violence (Kaufman, Kantor, and Jasinski, 1998). Patriarchal theory and resource theory conceptualize dominance as an expression of power that is a proximal cause of intimate violence. Because male and female gender roles are defined in a cultural context, intimate power relationships in families are influenced by gender role ideals that vary from culture to culture. Machismo and marianismo have been believed to constitute the cultural gender role "ideals" of men and women in traditional latino culture. In order to test this belief, the current study administered the Dominance Scale and the Conflict Tactics Scale 2 (CTS2) to 316 Mexican-Americans (161 males and 155 females). Both Mexican-American men and women scored equally high on the Dominance Scale; however men scored significantly higher on the Decision Making and Devaluation subscales than did women. The men and women did not differ significantly on the Power and Possessiveness subscales; men, however, tended to have more decision-making power and to look down on the opposite sex more than did women. High power and possessiveness were associated with all types of aggressive behavior. Decision-making power was also associated with physical assault; and high devaluation was related to the infliction of injury by men. Among women, high power was associated only with physical assault; and possessiveness was related to psychological aggression and physical assault. Evaluation was also high among women who inflicted injury on their male partners. 5 tables, 68 references, and appended Dominance Scale items and factor loadings