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Sociological Spectrum 30 (2010), pp. 526–549. DOI: 10.1080/02732173.2010.496103.


Published in Sociological Spectrum 30 (2010), pp. 526–549; doi: 10.1080/02732173.2010.496103 Copyright © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Used by permission.


The purpose of this study is to examine the role of economic resources, status compatibility, and alcohol consumption on forms of nonphysical abuse, such as controlling and emotional abuse. Specifically, we focus on the connections between women’s employment, the employment of their partners, alcohol use, and women’s risk of abuse in intimate relationships. We hypothesize that women in intimate relationships with men will experience more emotional abuse to the extent that they are economically vulnerable. Moreover, abuse should increase if their employment status, in relation to that of their partner, challenges the man’s marital power. Moreover, alcohol use by women and/or their partners is also predicted to be associated with emotional abuse. We find some support for assertions that socioeconomic deprivation, as well as challenges to men’s masculinity, is associated with emotionally abusive male partners. However, the prevalence and amount of alcohol use by the male partner stands out as the most consistent predictor of emotional abuse in heterosexual relationships.

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