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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1994 Jun;62(3):594-602.

Physical aggression in early marriage: prerelationship and relationship effects.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook 11794-2500.


Spousal physical aggression at 30 months after marriage was predicted for 393 young couples who were interviewed for a longitudinal study. The prerelationship predictor variables were history of violence in the family of origin, aggression against others during childhood and adolescence, and personality characteristics. Relationship predictor variables were marital discord and spouse-specific psychological aggression, both measured at 18 months after marriage. The findings suggest that predictive models are different for husbands and wives. For both sexes, there were direct paths to marital violence that were not mediated by characteristics of the relationship, as well as paths that originated in or flowed through indicators of the marital relationship. Implications for intervention through marital therapy, individual therapy, or both are discussed.

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