Psychology :: Marital violence among Asian-American couples

UC-Davis researchers identify three factors that predict marital violence in Asian-American couples, independent of marital distress.

In a new analysis, the researchers found that, as expected, violence is more common among Asian-American couples who report marital distress. But UC Davis psychology professor Nolan Zane and graduate student Manveen Dhindsa found that three other factors also stood out as significant risks for marital violence. Independent of marital distress, violence was more likely to occur if a family lacked closeness or if a spouse suffered from an anxiety disorder or stress related to acculturation into American society.

Zane and Dhindsa will present their findings at the annual meeting of the Asian American Psychological Association on Thursday, Aug. 16, during a 4 p.m. symposium titled ?Psychosocial Issues Among Asian Americans: Results from the National Latin Asian American Study.? The meeting takes place at Alliant International University, One Beach Street, San Francisco.

The findings stem from an analysis of the largest nationally representative survey to explore mental health problems in Asian Americans.

“Until recently, the topic of marital violence has not received much attention among researchers who study Asian American socio-psychological issues,” Dhindsa said. “However, marital violence does indeed occur among Asian Americans.”

Zane and Dhindsa combed through data from the National Latino and Asian American Study, a National Institute of Mental Health-funded survey of 2,554 Latinos and 2,095 Asian Americans conducted from May 2002 to November 2003. The study, the largest national survey of mental health disorders and use of psychiatric services in these ethnic groups, was led by David Takeuchi at the University of Washington School of Social Work in Seattle.

Marital violence included any angry physical contact, from shoving and slapping through more serious abuse.

“These results are quite important as they highlight that factors beyond marital distress can strongly increase chances for abuse,” Zane said. “Such information can be used to enhance therapy for batterers, as clinicians can go beyond remedying marital distress and focus on other psychological problems found to significantly impact marital abuse.”

Zane will also discuss the following research at the Asian American Psychological Association and American Psychological Association meetings:

  • Conceptions of ?Face? among Chinese: Clinical and Community Interventions,? 5:15 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, Asian American Psychological Association
  • ?Beyond Ethnic Match? in a symposium titled ?Ethnic Matching in Psychotherapy-Research Foundations and Future Directions,? 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, Moscone room 2011, American Psychological Association

  • ?Therapist Ethnicity and Treatment Orientation Differences in Cultural Competencies,? in the ?Improving Practice-Focus on Ethnic Psychology? poster session, 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 20, Moscone Halls ABC, American Psychological Association meeting

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