Date of Award:

1994

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Scot M. Allgood

Abstract

Spouse abuse is a significant social problem that has recently received considerable attention by family researchers. National studies have estimated the incidence of spouse abuse in the United States, but few studies have been conducted at the state or local level

Data were obtained from the Utah Division of Family Services Domestic Violence Client Record (Fonn 741 -S) reporting system. A total of 1,363 primary victims of spouse abuse was identified for the calendar year 1992

It is posited that victims of low socioeconomic status and victims of severe physical abuse are more likely to return to their own home after leaving a spouse abuse shelter. The victim's living arrangement at closure was cross tabulated with data on their socioeconomic status and the severity of abuse as determined by the level of medical treatment required.

It is further posited that spouse abuse victims from urban counties are not significantly different from victims from nonurban counties. T-test analyses compared violence, social-psychological, and family factors along with the type and number of services provided for spouse abuse victims from urban and nonurban counties

The data suggest that spouse abuse victims of middle and upper socioeconomic status are more likely to return to their own homes after receiving services than women of lower and poverty status. No relationship was found between severity of abuse and living arrangements after receiving services. The data also suggest that there is a significant difference between spouse abuse victims from urban and nonurban counties. Incidence rates for victims seeking services were nearly twice as high for nonurban counties compared with urban counties.

While the 741-S system can provide valuable data for family violence researchers, the present system needs to be modified Clear definitions, specific guidelines. additional training for case workers, and a modified data entry system will make the system more user-friendly and facilitate statistical analysis. Research conducted at the local level can provide policy makers with valuable data that can be used to improve domestic violence treatment and prevention services.

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