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Overview: the "wife-beater's wife" reconsidered
Am J Psychiatry 1980;137:1336-1347.
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Abstract

Although not a new phenomenon, wife-beating has been largely ignored by mental health professionals. The author describes a context in which the physical abuse of women as wives can be understood and suggests alternative theoretical constructs to traditional theories of masochism as explanations of why women stay in violent marital relationships. She discusses the societal attitudes that normalize the use of family violence as well as attitudes about women, men, and sex roles that leave women vulnerable to assault; summarizes the research on abused wives; identifies a specific stress response syndrome caused by violent abuse; and elaborates on the problems posed for clinicians working with abused women.

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