AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Clinic as well as general population studies have established that both stress
and drinking are associated with increased risks for assaults by husbands
against wives (Kaufman Kantor, 1990; Straus & Gelles, 1990). However, few
studies have been conducted to explore ethnic differences in the nature of
these relationships. In particular, there has been a lack of research in these
areas with regard to Hispanic Americans. This article addresses the gap in the
literature by examining the relationships among work-related stress, alcohol
use, and wife assaults for Anglo and Hispanic Americans.
The importance of evaluating possible precursors to wife assaults among
Hispanic Americans is underscored by several factors that indicate they are
at particular risk for domestic violence. For example, rates of domestic
violence, including wife assault, are higher in Hispanic families than in Anglo
families (Kaufman Kantor, 1990; Loya, Mercy, & Associates, 1985; Straus &
Smith, 1990). Moreover, research on wife abuse has suggested that structural
inequalities such as poverty and unemployment increase the risk of physical
violence against wives and are associated with other violence-promoting
factors such as alcohol abuse (Eden & Aguilar, 1989; Kaufman Kantor,
Jasinski, & Aldarondo, 1994). These economic and work-related stressors are
prominent among Hispanic Americans. Their economic marginality is
evidenced by lower annual family incomes, higher school dropout rates, and
higher levels of unemployment (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1993).
There is some evidence to suggest that Hispanic Americans use alcohol,
rather than more formal treatment options, to deal with life stressors (Neff,
1986). In addition, prior research has demonstrated higher rates of escapist
drinking among non-Whites than among any other sociodemographic group
in the United States (Cahalan, Cisin, & Crossley, 1969). Analyses of ethnic
variations in drinking show that, relative to Anglo Americans, Hispanic
Americans have higher rates of binge drinking and other maladaptive patterns
of alcohol abuse (Caetano, 1985; Cahalan & Room, 1974; Kaufman Kantor,
1990; Neff, 1986; Neff, Hoppe, & Perea, 1987). Because excessive drinking
is a widely recognized risk factor for assaults within the family (Hotaling &
Sugarman, 1986; Kaufman Kantor & Straus, 1987), it may represent an
additional mechanism underlying the elevated rates of domestic violence
among Hispanic Americans.
Taken together, several distinct lines of investigation suggest that a
number of factors converge to make Hispanic Americans vulnerable to wife
assaults. The present study addresses the relative neglect of research on
differences in the risks for wife assaults by examining variations in work
stress, drinking, and wife assault associations among Hispanic and Anglo
husbands. The major questions to be examined in this study include the
1. To what extent is work-related stress associated with heavy drinking
husbands in Hispanic families compared to those in Anglo families?
2. To what extent is work-related stress associated with wife assaults among
husbands in Hispanic families compared to their Anglo counterparts?
3. Is the relationship between work-related stress and violence mediated by
drinking for Anglo and Hispanic husbands? That is, is work stress associated
with wife assaults via heavy drinking for either group?
Based on empirical evidence suggesting a link between high levels of
stress and alcohol consumption, the exposure of Hispanic Americans to such
stress, coupled with cultural legitimation of alcohol use to cope with stress,
would lead us to hypothesize that Hispanic Americans would be more likely
than Anglo-Americans to cope with stress by drinking. Prior research has also
demonstrated an association between drinking and violence. High rates of
maladaptive drinking, together with high rates of violence among the
Hispanic population, suggest the need for a closer examination of the links
among stress, drinking, and violence for this ethnic group.
The data used for this article were obtained in 1992 as part of a national
study on alcohol-family violence relationships (Kaufman Kantor et al.,
1994). Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a national probability
sample of 1,970 people, including an oversample of about 800 Hispanic
people. Eligible respondents were those living as a couple with a member of
the opposite sex. One member of each household, either the husband or the
wife, was randomly selected and interviewed. Respondents were asked to
respond to questions about both themselves and their partners. Bilingual
interviewers were used in oversample areas. Although previous research has
indicated that Hispanic Americans are a heterogeneous ethnic group
(Kaufman Kantor et al., 1994), because of the small sample sizes of the
individual Hispanic groups, this study focuses on Hispanic Americans as a
Ethnicity. The ethnicity of respondents and partners was assessed by the
question "Which of these racial and ethnic groups do you (your partner)
consider yourself: Pacific Islander; Asian; Native American or Alaskan
Native; White but not Latino; Black but not Latino; Latino or Hispanic, or
some other group?"
In this study we use the terms Anglo to refer to respondents or partners
described as White but not Latino (n = 812) and Hispanic to refer to
respondents or partners described as Latino or Hispanic (n = 702).
Work-related stress. We used three measures to assess stress associated
with the workplace. The …