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Status Compatibility, Physical Violence, and Emotional Abuse in Intimate Relationships


* Department of Sociology, Williams Hall, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403 (


This article analyzing national data (N = 7,408) examines the connection between men's and women's relative economic contributions in families and the risk of husband-to-wife physical violence and emotional abuse. Family violence researchers have conceptualized the association between economic variables and the risk of intimate partner violence with respect to the structural dimensions of sociodemographic factors, whereas feminist researchers connect economic power to family dynamics. Marital dependency and stress frustration theories treat income, education, and employment as socioeconomic resources, whereas some feminist research points to the need for research that treats these economic variables as symbolic resources. Although income and educational attainment reduce women's risk of physical violence and emotional abuse by husbands, I find that status incompatibilities between partners that favor women increase the likelihood of emotional abuse.