Physical Violence in American Families, 1985 (ICPSR 9211)

Principal Investigator(s): Gelles, Richard J.; Straus, Murray A.


Data were collected in this follow-up survey to compare estimates of the incidence of intrafamily physical violence with estimates obtained in an earlier survey, PHYSICAL VIOLENCE IN AMERICAN FAMILIES, 1976 (ICPSR 7733). The main component of this survey design was a national cross-sectional survey of adults in the United States who either (1) were currently married or living together, (2) were single parents with children under 18 in the household, or (3) had been married or had lived with a partner of the opposite sex within the past two years. Approximately two-thirds of American households met one of these three requirements at the time of the survey. Another objective of the survey was to generate comparisons of the incidence of intrafamily physical violence by race and ethnicity. Variables in this data collection include number of couples, single parents, and children in the household, respondent's race, ethnicity, sex, age, and marital status, number of persons in the household previously married, years lived in the community, and employment/occupation information.

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


DS1:  Data File - Download All Files (10.21 MB)
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DS2:  SAS Data Definition Statements - Download All Files (0.349 MB)

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Study Description


Gelles, Richard J., and Murray A. Straus. Physical Violence in American Families, 1985. ICPSR09211-v3. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1994.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute of Mental Health (MH40027)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    ethnicity, families, family structure, family violence, households, race

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1985-06-10--1985-08-30

Date of Collection:   

  • 1985-06-10--1985-08-30

Universe:    Adults and children under 18 in American families.

Data Type(s):    survey data


Sample:    The initial stage of sample construction required the development of a national area probability sample based upon the distribution of the adult population of the United States. Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic Blacks, and non-Black Hispanics were oversampled.

Data Source:

telephone interviews

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:

  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1989-08-02

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