Tolerance Revisited: The Case of Spousal Force

Janet M. Ruane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This work employs survey data to examine the specific social conditions that influence tolerance for the use of force against wives. The findings indicate that respondents have a very negative view of such force in all contexts but one: A husband's use of force is viewed as appropriate behavior when the wife's precipitating behavior poses a threat to the family. These results are contrasted with earlier work on parental force which documented a certain ambivalence regarding parents hitting children. The paper concludes by arguing that a distinction between perceptual and behavioral tolerance must be made in order to further advance the study of tolerance. The implications for relevant social policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-343
Number of pages11
JournalSociological Focus
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1993


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