Family violence researcher Murray Straus dies

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Professor Murray Straus, "founder of the field of family violence research" passed away on 13 May 2016 at the age of 89.

An obituary highlighting his life and work has been posted on the University of New Hampshire website. There is also a memorial blog for friends and colleagues to share recollections and sentiments.

The obituary says,

"Beginning in the 1970s, his surveys established that people were far more likely to be assaulted and injured by members of their own family than they were by strangers, fundamentally changing popular and academic conceptions about crime and crime prevention.

He devoted much of his later career to the study of spanking and corporal punishment, accumulating evidence that spanking was associated with increased subsequent aggression among children and reduced warmth between them and their parents, among other negative side effects."

Straus also developed the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) and concluded that although women suffered more serious consequences than men from domestic aggression, women perpetrated a considerable amount of violence in intimate relationships. Research measuring violence using the CTS typically finds equivalent rates of male and female violence in relationships. The CTS has been criticised for not adequately assessing the context or consequences of violence. Other researchers have noted that findings of gender equivalence in community samples are "inconsistent with research examining severe levels of violence (e.g., studies of criminal behavior, stalking after separation or divorce, sexual aggression, emergency room visits, murder), which usually suggest that male violence is more problematic than female violence." (1120)

Holtzworth-Munroe, Amy. (2005). Male versus Female Intimate Partner Violence: Putting Controversial Findings into Context. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67(5): 1120-1125.

A memorial celebration of Straus' life and work will be held at the International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference in New Hampshire in July.