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Intergenerational Transmission of Violence, Self-Control, and Conjugal Violence: A Comparative Analysis of Physical Violence and Psychological Aggression

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 13 Issue: 3 Dated: Fall 1998 Pages: 301-316
E F Avakame
Date Published
16 pages
This study is a sequel to Avakame (1998), a study that sought to determine whether violence in families of origin affects males' psychological aggression toward wives and whether the intergenerational transmission effect is solely direct or mediated by Gottfredson and Hirschi's concept of self-control; the current research extends these questions to females' psychological aggression as well as males' and females' physical violence.
The models were estimated by using data from the 1975 National Family Violence Survey. A total of 2,143 respondents were interviewed in a nationwide probability sample of the United States: 960 males and 1,183 females. The data included detailed information on the development of conflicts that resulted in violence, resolution of conflict in respondents' childhood families, family power structure, and marital closeness and stability, as well as personality and stress factors. Physical violence was measured with the Conflict Tactics Scale. Psychological aggression was operationalized as a composite index of responses to five questionnaire items. Self-control was operationalized as a continuous variable. Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) have posited that criminal or deviant acts usually provide immediate gratification of desires. People with low self-control have a "here and now" orientation. Such people often get drunk and use drugs, among other imprudent behaviors. The data analytical tool for this research was LISREL, a statistical model for analyzing linear structural relationships among quantitative variables. Like its precursor, results of the current research suggest that it is useful to distinguish between mothers' and fathers' violence and recognize that the intergenerational transmission of violence may be mediated by self-control. Specifically, results show that, whether considering physical violence or psychological aggression, fathers' violence was most likely to exert the direct social learning effect. 5 figures, 3 tables, and 66 references


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