The marriage license as a hitting license, child abuse, sibling war is the powerful message of "Behind Closed Doors". The book is grounded in the unprecedented national survey of the extent, patterns, and causes of violence in the American family. Based on a seven-year study of over 2,000 families, the authors provide landmark insights into this phenomenon of violence and what causes Americans to inflict it on their family members. The authors explore the relationship between spousal abuse and child abuse as well as abuse between siblings, violence by children against their parents, and the causes and effects of verbal abuse. Taken together, their analysis provides a vivid picture of how violence is woven into the fabric of family life and why the hallmark of family life is both love and violence. This is a comprehensive, highly readable account of interest to both the professional and the lay-person on an important topic, which concerns the social well-being of us all.