Comparing Different Types of Child Abuse and Spouse Abuse Offenders

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This study examined differences in offenders' background characteristics, personal and interpersonal problems, and family climate between three types of child abuse offenders (neglecters, physical abusers, and psychological abusers) and two forms of spouse abuse offenders (physical abusers and psychological abusers) in two large samples (child abuse n = 2,910; spouse abuse; n = 7,035) of cases officially identified over a 8-year period (1988-1995) by the U.S. Air Force Family Advocacy Program. Comparisons addressed demographic factors, personal and interpersonal problems, and aspects of family climate. Among child abusers, results supported the conclusion that types of child abuse varied with offender demographics and family climate factors. For spouse abusers, however, types of abuse were not as distinctly different in terms of the comparison variables. In general, therefore, for child abuse-but not for spouse abuse-findings challenge the view of abuse as a unitary phenomenon.



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