Spouse abuse by Army soldiers: sex differences and the organizational response Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Sullivan, Kristen Arlene
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Health Behavior
  • Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant public health problem for U.S. families, including those with a member in the military. While female-perpetrated intimate partner violence is being increasingly recognized, much remains unknown. This study addresses these gaps through examination of five years of data (2000-2004) from the U.S. Army Central Registry, an electronic data system that contains information on family violence cases. Study aims were to: 1) describe differences by sex in spouse abuse perpetration by soldiers in the U.S. Army; 2) explore how the organizational response to spouse abuse varies by the sex of the perpetrator; and 3) examine the influence of the sex of the soldier perpetrator on spouse abuse reoffense. Males had significantly higher rates of initial spouse abuse perpetration than females in all racial/ethnic groups. Among offenders, females were more likely than male offenders to commit physical abuse, and were less likely to commit emotional abuse. Slightly more than half of females were also victims of abuse during the incident, more than double the percentage of males. Males committed emotional violence of higher severity. Sex did not predict physical violence severity. The Army's response to male and female spouse abuse perpetrators and victims is largely ungendered. However, differences were found in victim protective actions taken, namely, male offenders were more likely to be removed from the home, and the spouses of male offenders were less likely to be sheltered. These differences may be due to the greater availability of housing options for males than females on Army installations. Males and females had equivalent five year recidivist rates, and did not differ in the types and severity of recidivist incidents. Cox proportional hazard models found males had 35% greater risk than females of reoffending during the study period, controlling for other factors (p = .072). These findings suggest males should be the main target for primary prevention efforts, while both sexes need equivalent attention once the initial incident has occurred. Further research should explore the effects of the Army's intervention efforts on male and female recidivism.
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  • In Copyright
  • Bowling, J. Michael
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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