Depression and Aggression in Family Interaction

By Gerald R. Patterson | Go to book overview

designs that would withhold services from a control group, including the establishment of "wait list controls" for overcrowded services such as battered wife shelters.


The Benefits of the Survey Design

The explosion of interest in the topic of domestic violence has been accompanied by tremendous growth in research and publication on the various aspects of violence in the home. Unfortunately, although the amount of data collected in the past 25 years is impressive--at least compared to the dearth of data collected prior to 1962--the knowledge base is still far from solid. By and large, the reason for the lack of a well-developed knowledge base is the rather brief period of time the topic of family violence has been studied. In addition, the knowledge base has been built through exploratory and descriptive research. Such research can is useful for generating hypotheses, but cannot test those hypotheses. Furthermore, even well designed exploratory and descriptive research is subject to innumerable plausible rival explanations for the findings.

Although few researchers, clinicians, or policy makers held out much hope that useful data on family violence could be collected using survey research techniques, the skepticism has turned out to be unwarranted. Survey research on violence between family members has yielded estimates of the incidence and prevalence of violence in the home not confounded by the biases of official reports. Furthermore, survey data that examines associations between individual and social factors and family violence is also not confounded by the biases inherent in using clinical or official report data. The large samples used in survey research have provided opportunities to test hypotheses about various aspects of violence in the home. When the surveys employ representative samples, investigators have been able to break the confines of small, limited samples, and generalize their results to larger populations.

An unintended benefit of survey research on family violence is that those using the survey method have been forced to rigorously develop replicable nominal and operational definitions. Whereas studies based on clinical or official report data can simply define violence and abuse as those cases in the clinical or official records, survey researchers were forced to develop reliable and valid measurement technique to tap violence between family members.

Obviously, survey research is not the panacea for the problems and constraints inherent in studying, understanding, and explaining family violence. The biases of clinical and official report data have been replaced by the biases that are part of any project which depends on self-report and recall to measure human behavior. The advantages of large sample sizes and resulting statistical power are


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Depression and Aggression in Family Interaction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface xi
  • References xiv
  • 1: The Family Research Consortium: At the Crest of a Major Wave? 1
  • 2: Developmental Epidemiological Framework for Family Research on Depression and Aggression 11
  • References 46
  • 3: Methodological Issues in the Study of Family Violence 49
  • Conclusion 70
  • Acknowledgments 71
  • References 72
  • 4: How Marriages Change 75
  • References 100
  • 5: A Contextual Approach to the Problem of Aversive Practices in Families 103
  • Conclusion 123
  • References 124
  • 6: Statistical Methods for Analyzing Family Interaction 131
  • Summary 165
  • Acknowledgments 165
  • References 166
  • 7: Family Environments of Depressed and Well Parents and Their Children: Issues of Research Methods 169
  • Conclusion 182
  • Acknowledgments 183
  • References 183
  • 8 - Maternal Depression, Marital Discord, and Children's Behavior: A Developmental Perspective 185
  • Acknowledgments 204
  • References 204
  • 9: Initiation and Maintenance of Process Disrupting Single- Mother Families 209
  • Acknowledgments 242
  • References 243
  • 10: Method Variance in Structural Equation Modeling: Living with "Glop" 247
  • References 276
  • 11: Reflections: A Conceptual Analysis and Synthesis 281
  • References 312
  • Author Index 315
  • Subject Index 325


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