Definitions of and beliefs about wife abuse among undergraduate students of social work

Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia*, Miriam Schiff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The article focuses on definitions of and beliefs about wife abuse among undergraduate social work students in Israel. Data were collected through self-administered questionnaires. The vast majority of students in Study 1 acknowledged acts thought to constitute wife assault and disapproved of a husband's use of force against his wife. The majority of students in Study 2 did not justify wife abuse nor tend to believe that battered women benefit from beating, although they tended to blame the violent husband for his behavior. Significant amounts of the variance in dependent variables were explained by the students' marital role expectations (Study 1) and their attitudes toward women and sex role stereotypes (Study 2). The students' year of study and participation in family violence or wife abuse courses did not contribute toward explaining the variance in their beliefs. Results are discussed in light of the students' patriarchal ideology, and implications for future research are presented.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)170-190
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Beliefs about wife abuse
  • Definitions of wife abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Social work education
  • Violence against women


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