Marital aggression. Impact, injury, and health correlates for husbands and wives

Arch Intern Med. 1992 Jun;152(6):1178-84. doi: 10.1001/archinte.152.6.1178.


The overall aim of the current study was to comprehensively evaluate the prevalence, impact, and health correlates of marital aggression in a clinical sample of maritally discordant couples seeking psychological treatment. Participants were 93 consecutively presenting clinic couples and 16 maritally satisfied matched control couples from the community. Overall, 71% of clinic couples reported at least one act of marital aggression during the past year. Although 86% of the aggression reported was reciprocal between husbands and wives, impact and injuries sustained as a function of this aggression differed between husbands and wives. Specifically, wives were more likely than husbands to be negatively affected and to sustain severe injuries (eg, broken bones, broken teeth, or injury to sensory organs). Additionally, wives who experienced marital aggression reported clinical levels of depressive symptomatology. Recommendations are offered and risk markers are identified to improve detection by physicians of patients who may be involved in violent marriages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / classification*
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • New York / epidemiology
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / classification
  • Spouse Abuse / complications
  • Spouse Abuse / epidemiology*
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology