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Week 8 readings


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCB22H3
Professor
Ping- Chun Hsiung

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Week 8: (article 1)
The Influence of Physical and Sexual Abuse on Marriage and Cohabitation:
-Across all social classes, Americans are more likely to cohabit prior to and after marriage, marry
at older ages, divorce more, never marry at all, and have children outside of marriage compared
to a half-century ago.
-The decline of marriage as a social institution has been greatest among low-income populations,
and particularly among African Americans
.
ABUSE IN CHILDHOOD AND ADULTHOOD: ISSUES OF TIMING AND FORM:
CHILDHOOD ABUSE:
-It is difficult to estimate accurately the percentage of women who experience physical or sexual
abuse.
-Childhood sexual abuse doe not seem to vary according to family income, race or ethnicity,
although there is evidence that it is more common among children in single parent families.
-Most of the abuse is carried out by family members or friends of parents.
-In addition to direct sexual abuse or physical abuse, children can suffer severe long-term effects
from witnessing adult domestic violence and sexual abuse within their families.
-Although exposure to domes-tic violence has been found to have a distinct traumatic impact
separate from direct abuse of the child, research indicates that the combined effects of
domestic violence exposure and child maltreatment are more severe than either alone.
Consequences of Child Abuse:
-Extensive research literature suggests that having been sexually abused as a child can have pro-
found long-term consequences for an adult's sexual behavior and intimate relationships.
-The seriousness of the consequences is associated with factors such as the number of incidents,
the severity and duration of the incidents, and the age of the child during the incidents.
-Traumatic sexual experiences can produce inappropriate sexual behavior and feelings of betray-
al, lack of trust, and powerlessness.
-They can produce later-life sequel such as low self-image, depression, and no clear sense of
boundaries between oneself and others.
-In adolescence and adulthood, these conditions can lead to early onset of sexual activity, riskier
sexual activity, and multiple partners.
-Thus, women who were sexually abused as children may have more frequent sexual encounters
and relationships from which they derive less satisfaction than other women.
-Childhood sexual abuse has been linked to relationship difficulties, such as distrust of others and
discomfort with sexual intimacy.
-Intrusive thoughts and defensiveness resulting from abuse can prevent the formation of close
relationships.
-The relationship difficulties associated with childhood sexual abuse would seem to be more
consistent with frequent, short-term unions than with long-term unions.
-The literature on the consequences of child-hood physical abuse suggests a diffuse array of
potential difficulties, including depression, aggressive behavior, and a diminished capaci-ty for
intimacy and trust.
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-There is also some evidence that childhood physical abuse, like childhood sexual abuse, can
predispose adolescents toward multiple sex partners.
-Like childhood sexual abuse, then, childhood physical abuse could inhibit the formation of
lasting adult unions.
-However, childhood sexual abuse may have the larger inhibiting effect because of its direct con-
sequences for sexual functioning and behavior.
Physical and Sexual Abuse by intimate partners in adulthood:
THEORETICAL MECHANISMS AND HYPOTHESES:
-Some women seemed to have withdrawn from serious relationships with men altogether, a
pattern we will call abated unions.
-Because it is easier to leave a cohabiting relationship than a marriage, women who have
experienced abuse and wish to maintain an exit route from relationships may prefer
cohabitation to marriage.
-In addition, the personal and social resources that women can draw upon may influence union-
formation patterns.
-Women who successfully resist abusive men must be resourceful.
-They must actively solve problems, respond quickly, and negotiate firmly.
-Those who bring more psychological resources to their adult intimate relationships and who
have more social support in adulthood will be more likely to separate themselves from
potentially abusive men.
-Childhood abuse may erode psychological resources by engendering feelings of self-blame, guilt,
low self-esteem, and depressive symptoms.
-In adulthood, a support network of kin and friends may provide a crucial social resource that
allows women to avoid and escape from abusive relationships.
-1. Women who haven ever been abused will be more likely to show a pattern of sustained,
long-term unions than women who have experienced abuse.
-2. Women with a history of childhood abuse, particularly childhood sexual abuse, will be more
likely to manifest a pattern of frequent, short-term non-marital relationships, compared to
women who have not experienced childhood abuse.
-3. Women who were not abused in childhood but encounter abuse in adulthood will be more
likely to show a pattern of abated unions, relative to women who were abused in childhood and
who also encounter abuse in adulthood.
Discussion:
-Both sets of data suggest that women who have been abused are substantially less likely to be in
sustained marital or cohabiting unions.
-Childhood abuse, and particularly childhood sexual abuse, is associated with a pattern in which
women are less likely to be in a stable marriage or a long-term cohabiting relationship but are
instead more likely to experience multiple short-term unions.
-Adult abuse, and particularly adult physical abuse, on the other hand, is associated with a
reduction in the probability of being in either form of union.
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