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Sociocultural Status and Incidence of Marital Violence in Hispanic Families

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It is not clear whether traditional cultural ideology influences wife assaults in Hispanic-American families, or if culture is confounded with the stresses of poverty, unemployment, and immigration status. Our 1992 study of 1,970 families, including a national oversample of Hispanic families, examines the incidence of marital violence in the three major Hispanic-American subgroups and in Anglo-American families, and considers how sociocultural status and attitudes towards violence affect wife assaults differentially. The findings show that Hispanic Americans, as a whole, do not differ significantly from Anglo Americans in their odds of wife assaults when norms regarding violence approval, age, and economic stressors are held constant At the same time, considerable heterogeneity was apparent among ethnic subgroups on a number of measures. We also found that being born in the United States increases the risk of wife assaults by Mexican- and Puerto Rican-American husbands. However, the presence of norms sanctioning wife assaults within any group, regardless of socioeconomic status, is a risk factor for wife abuse.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: 1: Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire 2: Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire>

Publication date: January 1, 1994

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