Essay, Research Paper: Husband To Wife Violence


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Critical Analysis of Journal Article Article: Feldbau-Khon, S., Heyman, R., and
O`Leary, K. (1998). Major depressive disorder and depressive symptomatology as
predictors of husband to wife physical abuse. Violence and Victims, 13, 347-359.
Introduction The work of Feldbau-Khon, S., Heyman, R., and O`Leary, K. is
described in the article, ⌠Major Depressive Disorder and Depressive
Symptomatology as Predictors of Husband to Wife Physical Aggression. The authors
tested the link between a husband`s depressive symptomatology and the frequency
of physical aggression toward his wife. Also tested was the husband`s Major
Depressive Disorder and the frequency of physical aggression towards his wife.
The authors had four hypotheses. 1: Clinically depressed men are more physically
aggressive. 2: Depressive symptomatology is associated with frequency of
physical aggression. 3: Depressive symptomatology effects on physical aggression
are accounted for by other variables. 4: Depressive symptomatology effects on
psychological aggression are accounted for by other variables. The study
assessed physically aggressive men who volunteered for treatment with their
wives. Participants responded to newspaper announcements offering free therapy
for relationship conflicts. All spouses completed three-hour assessments
consisting of structured interviews and self-report measures. Almost one third
had moderate levels of depressive symptomatology, but only 11% met the criteria
for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Although a significant relationship between
increased depressive symptomatology and frequency of physical aggression was
found, the relationship was most likely accounted for by self- reported anger.
Weaknesses One weakness with this study is the makeup of the sample. The racial
composition of the sample was 1.3% Black, 1.3% Asian, and 97% White. No
Hispanics were included in the study although Hispanic men are also sometimes
very violent to their wives. The sample should have had more diversity, not be
made up almost entirely of Whites. Some races are more naturally violent than
others are because its part of their culture. Using mostly whites in this study
taints it because different depression could be a major factor affecting the
physical violence of whites but perhaps not men of other races. Another weakness
of this study is that it is never mentioned whether or not any of the subjects
were taking any sort of medication. Many types of medications, for example any
type Serotonin inhibitor, can affect violent behavior. The fact that the
subjects were volunteers raises an issue. The participants responded to an
advertisement for free therapy for relationship conflicts. These people wanted
help. They were not ordered by the court to obtain therapy. This may suggest
that they somehow have a different frame of mind than others who might not seek
help, therefore, we cannot make accurate assumptions about the results of the
study. Another issue one must take into consideration is that the participants
completed a three-hour assessment for which they were not being paid for. They
could have become tired, annoyed, bored, or frustrated. This could have affected
their answers to the questions asked in the interview to determine whether or
not they had MDD. They could also have not been revealing their true selves in
the self-report. The interviews were conducted by grad students and a research
assistant, not by the actual researchers or by doctors. There is a possibility
they could have overlooked things a professional with more experience would have
caught. Strengths of the Article One of the strengths of this article is that it
stresses the possibility of outside factors affecting the physical violence. An
example of this kind of variable is self-reported anger. A relationship where
one person is depressed may in fact be a very chaotic relationship where anger
and frustration can result in violence. In this case, the violence is may not be
a direct result of the depression; instead it may result from the anger and
frustration or marital discord that may accompany depression. The study
recognizes that there are other factors of life that can affect the physical
violence. Conclusion Although the study has its weaknesses, it is still a
valuable learning tool. The study is consistent with other studies that have
emphasized the role of anger in regard to husband-to-wife physical aggression.
Much more research still has to be done to better understand the connection
between MDD and husband-to-wife physical aggression. With every study performed,
we come closer to realizing the true connection between the two.
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