ERIC Number: ED351655
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug
Adolescents' Understandings of Power and Violence in Marital Relationships.
Goodwin, M. Jacqueline; Smith, Philip B.
A characteristic common to differing forms of violence within families is the abuse of power. This study explored adolescents' understandings of power and control in marital relationships. Adolescents' reports of witnessing conflict and violence between their own parents were also considered as a context within which beliefs about power and attitudes toward women develop. Three questionnaires designed to explore adolescents' beliefs about power in marital relationships, their attitudes toward women, and their reports of violence between their parents, were completed by 353 high school students. Females reported more egalitarian beliefs about the exercise of power in marital relationships. Females recalled a level of violence within their homes that was significantly higher than that reported by males. Neither female nor male subjects reported significant differences in the frequency with which aggression, verbal or physical, was perpetrated by their fathers compared with their mothers. Both female and male students strongly rejected the exercise of physical power within marital relationships. The modest relations between male adolescents' reports of witnessing violence between their parents and their own attitudes about exercise of power in the marital relationship may also reflect complexity, not only in the sources of attitudes about power but also in the consequences of witnessing violence. Exploring such complexities will be valuable not only because of their intrinsic interest, but also because of their critically important implications for so many children and families. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (100th, Washington, DC, August 14-18, 1992).