Spousal violence : an exploration of the interrelationships of fundamentalist protestant discourse, women's economic dependency and violent conflict in marital relationships Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2n49t602z

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  • Violence within marital dyads is a problem with deep historic roots in American culture. Although the family is idealized as a safe and loving haven from a cruel world, this ideal is often not achieved by many couples. This study develops an integrated theoretical perspective that combines feminist theory and social exchange theory to examine levels of domestic conflict. A regression model was constructed to test the hypothesis that identification with fundamentalist Protestant religious and moral beliefs and the economic dependence of women were factors contributing to high levels of violent conflict within marital dyads. The study analyzed data gathered from a probability sample of 3421 married couples. The dependent variable, marital conflict, was operationalized using a modified version of the Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus, 1979). This variable was regressed on the independent variables: Protestant fundamentalist religiosity, religious affiliation, Protestant moral/family values, wives' economic dependency and the economic, social and demographic variables cited in the literature for their relationship to dyadic violence. The study found that identification with a fundamentalist Protestant religious discourse was not significantly related to increased levels of dyadic violence. Agreement with the basic moral/family values of the fundamentalist Protestant discourse were significantly related to lower levels of conflict. Women's economic dependency was also significantly related to lower levels of conflict. These data support the conclusion that women who identify with conservative values and acquiesce to the male power structure by choosing a more traditional life-course of economic dependency are less likely to be involved in high conflict or violent marriages.
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