Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Abused women less likely to be in stable relationships

21.01.2005


Those abused as adults often say no to marriage, cohabitation



Poor women who are physically or sexually abused at some point in their lives are less likely to maintain stable intimate relationships, according to a new study of more than 2,500 women by sociologists from The Johns Hopkins University and Penn State University.
The women involved in the study said they want fair treatment and companionship from their partners, just like everybody does, the researchers said. Many of those who had been abused as adults told ethnographers that they had decided to forego marriage and cohabiting relationships, at least temporarily. Those who were sexually abused in childhood were not as likely to avoid relationships altogether; rather, they tended to engage in a series of short-term, transient relationships, many of them abusive.

While there is no evidence that abuse rates have increased, the number of women postponing intimate relationships may be growing, said Andrew Cherlin, the Griswold Professor of Public Policy at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the report, "The Influence of Physical and Sexual Abuse on Marriage and Cohabitation," to be published in the Jan. 21 issue of American Sociological Review. "What’s changed over the past few decades is the social context of abuse," Cherlin said. "Women don’t have to stay with abusive men anymore because they have alternatives to marriage."



The researchers, working in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio as part of the long-term research project called "Welfare, Children and Families: A Three-City Study," surveyed a random sample of 2,402 Hispanic, African American, and white women. Ethnographic research teams studied another 256 women in depth for several years, observing day-to-day activities and conducting repeated interviews. All of the women studied were the primary caregivers of at least one child.

Fifty-two percent of women in the random-sample survey reported being physically or sexually abused at some point during their lives. Twenty-four percent said they were sexually abused during childhood or adolescence. Forty-two percent of women who had never been abused were married at the time of the survey, compared to 22 percent of women who had ever been abused. Of the 256 women studied in depth, one-sixth -- many of whom had been physically abused as adults -- said they were taking a timeout from intimate relationships with men.

"Women’s decision to take a timeout from such relationships is an important one for policymakers to understand," said co-author Linda Burton, director of the ethnographic component and Penn State professor of human development and sociology. "These women are not saying they will never enter intimate relationships again, but, rather, they need recovery and reflection time from abuse they experienced as adults to avoid entering a subsequent abusive relationship."

Cherlin and Burton suggest that reducing levels of sexual abuse and physical violence in families could increase the number of healthy, stable, long-term unions. They argue that current marriage promotion policy debates at the federal and state levels, which tend to blame declining cultural values or unemployment for lower marriage rates among the poor, should also focus on the consequences of abuse.

Other authors are: Tera Hurt, University of Georgia; and Diane Purvin, Wellesley College.

Funding support came from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families, Social Security Administration, National Institute of Mental Health, The Boston Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Woods Fund of Chicago.

Amy Cowles | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.jhu.edu

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>