National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

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Risk Factors for Male-Perpetrated Domestic Violence in Vietnam Veteran Families in the United States, 1988 (ICPSR 3086) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

The goal of this project was to gain a better understanding of risk factors associated with male-perpetrated domestic violence, partner's mental distress, and child behavior problems. The researchers sought to demonstrate that two important social and health problems, domestic violence and trauma-related psychological distress, were connected. The project was organized into four studies, each of which addressed a specific objective: (1) Variables characterizing the perpetrator's family of procreation were used to determine the pattern of relationships among marital and family functioning, perpetrator-to-partner violence, partner's mental distress, and child behavior problems. (2) The perpetrator's early background and trauma history were studied to establish the degree to which the perpetrator's family of origin characteristics and experiences, childhood antisocial behavior, exposure to stressors in the Vietnam war zone, and subsequent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology related to perpetrator-to-partner family violence. (3) The perpetrator's degree of mental distress was examined to ascertain the ways in which the current mental distress of the perpetrator was associated with marital and family functioning, violence, and current mental distress of the partner. (4) Developmental and intergenerational perspectives on violence were used to model a network of relationships explaining the potential transmission of violence across generations, commencing with the perpetrator's accounts of violence within the family of origin and terminating with reports of child behavior problems within the family of procreation. Data for this study came from the congressionally-mandated National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) (Kulka et al., 1990), which sought to document the current and long-term psychological status of those who served one or more tours of duty in the Vietnam theater of operations sometime between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975, compared to their peers who served elsewhere in the military during that era and to a comparable group who never experienced military service. This study relied upon data from the National Survey and Family Interview components of the larger NVVRS. Data were collected through face-to-face structured interviews, with some supplementary self-report paper-and-pencil measures. The interview protocol was organized into 16 parts, including portions requesting information on childhood experiences and early delinquent behaviors, military service history, legal problems in the family of origin and postwar period, stressful life events, social support systems, marital and family discord and abusive behaviors, and physical and mental health. This study emphasized four categories of explanatory variables: (1) the perpetrator's accounts of family of origin characteristics and experiences, (2) the perpetrator's conduct and behavior problems prior to age 15, (3) the perpetrator's exposure to war-zone stressors, and (4) mental distress of the perpetrator, with attention to PTSD symptomatology and alcohol abuse. Additionally, the project incorporated four clusters of family of procreation criterion variables: (1) marital and family functioning, (2) perpetrator-to- partner violence, (3) partner mental distress, and (4) child behavior problems. Variables include child abuse, family histories of substance abuse, criminal activity, or mental health problems, relationship as a child with parents, misbehavior as a child, combat experience, fear for personal safety during combat, alcohol use and abuse, emotional well-being including stress, guilt, relationships with others, panic, and loneliness, acts of physical and verbal violence toward partner, children's emotional and behavioral problems, problem-solving, decision-making, and communication in family, and family support.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

Risk Factors for Male-Perpetrated Domestic Violence in Vietnam Veteran Families in the United States, 1988 - Download All Files (4,568 KB)

Study Description

Citation

King, Lynda A., and Daniel W. King. RISK FACTORS FOR MALE-PERPETRATED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN VIETNAM VETERAN FAMILIES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1988. ICPSR version. Boston, MA: Veteran's Administration Boston Healthcare Center and Boston University School of Medicine [producers], 2000. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001. doi:10.3886/ICPSR03086.v1

Persistent URL:

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (98-WT-VX-0031)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   childhood, domestic violence, families, family history, family violence, health problems, male offenders, mental health, military service, parent child relationship, post-traumatic stress disorder, risk assessment, social problems, veterans, Vietnam War

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1988

Date of Collection:  

  • 1988

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   All Vietnam War veterans and their spouses or cohabiting partners.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) This data file consists of a selection of original items from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. The principal investigators recoded many of the original items and computed new items to create several scaled variables that were used in the final analyses. The original question text and SPSS syntax used to transform variables and create scales are included in the documentation for this data collection. Users are also strongly encouraged to read the Final Report for this study to obtain detailed information on how the scales were created and how to interpret them. (2) The user guide, codebook, data collection instruments, and SPSS syntax and LISREL programming code are provided by ICPSR as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   The goal of this project was to gain a better understanding of risk factors associated with male-perpetrated domestic violence, partner's mental distress, and child behavior problems using data from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) (Kulka et al., 1990). The researchers sought to demonstrate that two important social and health problems, domestic violence and trauma-related psychological distress, were connected. Additionally, they showed that the sequelae of trauma, defined as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and comorbid alcohol abuse, served as major mediators to explain the etiology and propagation of aggressive behaviors in families. The project was organized into four studies, each of which addressed a specific objective: (1) Variables characterizing the perpetrator's family of procreation were used to determine the pattern of relationships among marital and family functioning, perpetrator-to-partner violence, partner's mental distress, and child behavior problems. (2) The perpetrator's early background and trauma history were studied to establish the degree to which the perpetrator's family of origin characteristics and experiences, childhood antisocial behavior, exposure to stressors in the Vietnam war zone, and subsequent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology related to perpetrator-to-partner family violence. (3) The perpetrator's degree of mental distress was examined to ascertain the ways in which the current mental distress of the perpetrator was associated with marital and family functioning, violence, and current mental distress of the partner. (4) Developmental and intergenerational perspectives on violence were used to model a network of relationships explaining the potential transmission of violence across generations, commencing with the perpetrator's accounts of violence within the family of origin and terminating with reports of child behavior problems within the family of procreation.

Study Design:   Data for this study came from the congressionally-mandated National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) (Kulka et al., 1990), which sought to document the current and long-term psychological status of those who served one or more tours of duty in the Vietnam theater of operations sometime between August 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975, compared to their peers who served elsewhere in the military during that era and to a comparable group who never experienced military service. The NVVRS consisted of four parts: (1) the Preliminary Validation component, aimed at selecting appropriate measures of PTSD for use in the larger national survey, (2) the National Survey of the Vietnam Generation, the main endeavor, (3) the Clinical Interview component, intended to generate supplementary data for use in the computation of prevalence estimates within the national sample, and (4) the Family Interview component, designed to obtain corroborative information about the veteran and family-oriented data from a spouse or partner. This study relied upon data from the National Survey and Family Interview components of the NVVRS. Data were collected through face-to-face structured interviews, with some supplementary self-report paper-and-pencil measures. The interview protocol was organized into 16 parts, including portions requesting information on childhood experiences and early delinquent behaviors, military service history, legal problems in the family of origin and postwar period, stressful life events, social support systems, marital and family discord and abusive behaviors, and physical and mental health. The interviews were conducted by specially trained interviewers in the homes of participants throughout the United States, averaging over five hours for the Vietnam veterans. For the Family Interview, spouses or cohabiting partners of Vietnam veterans were targeted. The partner interview averaged about one hour in length. Data were collected on selected background characteristics of the partner and couple, the partner's perspective on the veteran's mental health and functioning, the partner's own psychological and emotional well-being, interaction problems and violence in the family, and behavior and adjustment problems for all 6- to 16-year old children in the household. This study emphasized four categories of explanatory variables: (1) the perpetrator's accounts of family of origin characteristics and experiences, (2) the perpetrator's conduct and behavior problems prior to age 15, (3) the perpetrator's exposure to war-zone stressors, and (4) mental distress of the perpetrator, with attention to PTSD symptomatology and alcohol abuse. Additionally, the project incorporated four clusters of family of procreation criterion variables: (1) marital and family functioning, (2) perpetrator-to- partner violence, (3) partner mental distress, and (4) child behavior problems.

Sample:   Random and purposive sampling.

Data Source:

personal interviews, and self-administered questionnaires

Description of Variables:   Variables include child abuse, family histories of substance abuse, criminal activity, or mental health problems, relationship as a child with parents, misbehavior as a child, combat experience, fear for personal safety during combat, alcohol use and abuse, emotional well-being including stress, guilt, relationships with others, panic, and loneliness, acts of physical and verbal violence toward partner, children's emotional and behavioral problems, problem-solving, decision-making, and communication in family, and family support. For each variable from the original data collection there are recoded and computed variables, such as Z-scores, which were used to compute the various scales used as the primary measures of the study.

Response Rates:   The response rate for the National Survey of the Vietnam Generation was 83 percent for all Vietnam veterans.

Presence of Common Scales:   Many of the question items consist of Likert-type scales. Additionally, the principal investigators created several scales as the key measures in this study. Perpetrator's family of origin characteristics and experiences were operationalized by a scale summarizing relationship with mother and relationship with father, as well as by an index of family dysfunction consisting of four scales measuring family turmoil, severe punishment, interparental violence, and an inventory of traumatic events. The perpetrator's childhood antisocial behavior was operationalized with a five-parcel scale based on items from the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (Robins, Helzer, Croughan, and Ratcliff, 1981). The perpetrator's exposure to war-zone stressors was measured with two scales capturing exposure to traditional combat and perceived threat regarding personal safety. Perpetrator's current mental distress was assessed using four scales from the Mississippi Scale for Combat-Related PTSD (Keane et al., 1988). Additionally four scales for alcohol abuse were created using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (Robins et al., 1981) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV, American Psychological Association, 1994). Partner's mental distress was measured with scales for general well-being, social isolation, and a scale of demoralization based on the Psychiatric Epidemiological Research Interview (Dohrenwend, 1982). Perpetrator-to-partner violence was based on the Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus, 1979 and 1990). Marital and family functioning was operationalized with a scale of marital adjustment based on Spanier's (1976) Dyadic Adjustment Scale, Dohrenwend's (1982) Marital Dissatisfaction Scale from the Psychiatric Epidemiological Research Interview, and instruments used in national studies of American life conducted by Campbell, Converse, and Rodgers (1976) and Veroff, Dowan, and Kulka (1981). Family adaptability and cohesion variables were taken from the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales (FACESII, Olson, Bell, and Porter, 1978, Olson, McCubbin, Barnes, Larsen, Muxen, and Wilson, 1983). Child behavior problems were measured with two scales, internalizing and externalizing, based on the Child Behavior Checklist (Achenback, 1978 and 1991).

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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