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Am J Public Health. 1996 Jan;86(1):35-40.

Violence and injury in marital arguments: risk patterns and gender differences.

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  • 1School of Public Health, University of California at Los Angeles, 90095-1772, USA.



Community-based research on violence against women typically focuses on marital arguments rather than on resulting injuries. This study investigated patterns of victimization, violence perpetration, and injury in marital arguments.


Data from the National Survey on Families and Households and binomial and multinomial logit models were used to analyze characteristics of those who experienced physical violence, as well as to determine who was the perpetrator and who was the victim.


Men and women reported similar behaviors during verbal arguments. Young persons, urban dwellers, the less educated, those with low incomes, and Blacks were more likely to report that there had been physical violence in their marriages in the past year. Ethnicity, income, education, and number and age of children at home were not associated consistently with injury of the wife, the husband, or both.


Persons who report physical violence in their marriage are very similar to those who are at increased risk of interpersonal violence in general. The co-occurrence of street and other nonfamily violence with spousal violence may be a fruitful area for future research.

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