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Understanding Male Partner Violence Against Cohabiting and Married Women: An Empirical Investigation with a Synthesized Model

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Violence Volume: 17 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 341-361
Douglas A. Brownridge; Shiva S. Halli
Date Published
December 2002
21 pages
This study tested a synthesized model for understanding the influence of marital status (married or cohabiting) on the prevalence of violence in an intimate relationship, using a large-scale representative sample of Canadian women.
The data used in this study were from Statistics Canada's "Violence Against Women Survey." A random sample of 12,300 women 18 years old or older completed in-depth telephone interviews that focused on experiences of violence they had encountered since reaching the age of 16. The sample consisted of 8,418 women who were married or in common-law relationships at the time of the survey; there were 7,396 married respondents and 1,022 cohabiting respondents. Three marital-status groups were distinguished: women who were cohabiting at the time of the study, married women with prior cohabitation experience, and married women without prior cohabitation experience. The study defined male partner violence against women as acts of physical assault, verbal abuse, psychological aggression, and sexual coercion. Multivariate analyses were conducted by using logistic regression. The findings show little support for most explanations regarding the greater likelihood that cohabitors, compared with married couples, are more likely to be violent. The findings suggest that unique and complex variable interactions operate in the production of violence for the different marital status groups examined. In addition to disaggregation by marital status, other directions for future research are discussed. 2 figures, 3 tables, and 27 references