The study, conducted by Cortney A. Franklin and Tasha A. Menaker at the Sam Houston State University and supported by the Crime Victims’ Institute, looked at the impact of education levels and employment status where couples were heterosexual, and partner victimisation.
While differences in education levels appeared to have little influence on intimate partner violence, when both partners were working, intimate partner violence increased, the journal Violence Against Women reports.
“When both males and females were employed, the odds of victimisation were more than two times higher than when the male was the only breadwinner in the partnership, lending support to the idea that female employment may challenge male authority and power in a relationship,” said Franklin and Menaker.
The study was based on telephone interviews with 303 women who identified themselves as either currently or recently in a serious romantic relationship, according to a Sam Houston statement.
Based on the Fourth Annual Texas Crime Victimisation Survey, a total of 67 percent of these women, who ranged in age from 18 to 81, reported some form of physical or psychological victimisation by their partner during the preceding two-year period.
These actions included having something thrown at them, being pushed, grabbed or shoved, slapped, hit, kicked or bitten, or threatened with a gun or knife.
The study found that more than 60 percent of women in heterosexual working couples reported victimisation, while only 30 percent of women reported victimisation in cases when only the male partner was employed.
“When women are home-bound through their role as domestic workers, they lack connections to co-workers and the social capital that is produced through those connections, in addition to wages, job prestige, resources, and thus, power,” said Franklin and Menaker.
“In turn, they must rely solely on their male partner for financial sustenance and can benefit from the distinction that his employment brings the couple,” they added.
“Those women who work outside the home have access to these tangible and intangible assets, which may devalue or, in some cases, even undermine the contributions and provisions supplied by male-only employment,” they concluded.