Intergenerational Transmission of Abuse of Incarcerated Fathers: A Study of the Measurement of Abuse

Jeremy D. Ball, Boise State University


Research on the intergenerational transmission of abuse hypothesis often only examined the existence of abuse. The current study utilizes retrospective recalls of incarcerated male defendants (N = 414), using questions formulated from the modified Conflict Tactics Scales. Five logistic regression models are run, representing a different physical abuse measure, including incidence of physical abuse; severity of physical abuse; and three composite measures: total frequency, total severity, and total frequency/severity. Although social desirability is a limitation in any study relying on self-report data, the comparison of the chi-square values of each model may give indication that the simpler abuse measures ("incidence of physical abuse" and "severity of physical abuse") are more predictive of later abusive behaviors than the more complex, composite measures.