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Risk of Wife Assault in Latino Families

By Etiony Aldarondo, Glenda Kaufman Kantor & Jana L. Jasinski

Using data from a national survey, the authors studied commonly recognized risk markers for wife assault such as age, verbal aggression, violence in family of origin, family income, relationship conflict, and marital status, among others. Mexican, Mexican American, and Puerto Rican families were compared to Anglo-American families.

  • 1,193 individuals participated in this study (653 women and 539 men).

  • The rate of wife assault was higher among Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans than among Mexicans and Anglo Americans.

  • Mexican and Mexican American women reported lower violence rates than the men in those groups. The authors believe that fear of deportation, discrimination, dedication to children and family, and shame may be important barriers for immigrant women to report violence and seek help.

  • Mexican men were found to be younger and less verbally aggressive than men from other groups and Mexican families reported lower levels of conflict in their relationships than families in other groups.

  • For Mexican men, high levels of conflict and experiencing violence in their families of origin increased their risk for using violence against their partners.

  • In Mexican American families, relationship conflict and lack of economic resources increased the risk for wife assault.

  • For Puerto Ricans, only the woman's report of relationship violence increased the risk for wife assault.

  • In contrast to what other researchers have found, this study did not find that age was a significant risk marker in Latino families (although it was for Anglo American families, when reported by the women).

  • Witnessing violence in the family of origin increased the risk for wife assault in Anglo American families, whereas experiencing violence in the family of origin did so for Mexican families.

The authors conclude that research with Latino communities must study both generic and culture-specific variables that may be related to wife assault, given the enormous diversity within Latino populations.

Aldarondo, E., Kaufman Kantor, G., & Jasinski, J. L. (2002)."A Risk Marker Analysis of Wife Assault in Latino Families." Violence Against Women, 8(4), 429-454.


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©2007. National Latino Alliance for the Elimination of Domestic Violence.
All Rights Reserved. Last updated 05/30/07.