Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Caringella-MacDonald

Second Advisor

Dr. Zoann Snyder

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This research explores the relationships between marriage, alcohol use, and woman abuse. The role that the institution of marriage plays in woman abuse is examined from a historical perspective.

This study also explores how, historically, alcohol use, being as a part of the male macho and physical culture, became a socially adopted excuse for woman abuse. Critical feminist perspectives are used to guide this inquiry. Kalamazoo County Court System domestic violence arrest records are analyzed and interpreted in terms of offender-to-victim relationships. Also, the percentages and dynamics of those arrests in which alcohol use was a factor are explored.

This study supports the theory that the institution of marriage is a contributory factor in woman abuse. This study also maintains that woman abuse in cohabitating couples results from these relationships mirroring conventional marriages. The findings support the argument that the alcohol/marriage/woman abuse relationship is more relevant than mainstream research indicates.