DURHAM - Dr. Murray Straus, an internationally influential sociologist and founder of the field of family violence research, died May 13, 2016, at the age of 89.
Dr. Straus was born in New York City on June 18, 1926 to Samuel and Kathleen (Miller) Straus. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Dunn Straus, his children by a previous marriage, Carol Straus and Dr. John Straus, his step-children David Dunn and wife Kathy, Lisa Dunn, Thomas Dunn and wife Linda, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Dr. Straus spent most of his career, from 1968 until his death, at the University of New Hampshire, much of it as director of the Family Research Laboratory, after previous positions at Washington State University, University of Wisconsin, Cornell and the University of Minnesota. He received his bachelors and doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin. Beginning in the 1970s, his surveys established that people were far more likely to be assaulted and injured by members of their own family than they were by strangers, fundamentally changing popular and academic conceptions about crime and crime prevention.
He devoted much of his later career to the study of spanking and corporal punishment, accumulating evidence that spanking was associated with increased subsequent aggression among children and reduced warmth between them and their parents, among other negative side effects. He was an energetic and prolific scholar, authoring a total of 15 books and hundreds of scholarly articles. Among the most widely cited were Behind Closed Doors and Beating the Devil Out of Them. He was known as a warm and engaging person, who enjoyed collaborating with colleagues and supervising students. He extensively traveled the world exploring the differing cultures on his many adventures. He was devoted to the work carried on at the Family Research Laboratory, UNH, 125 McConnell Hall, 15 Academic Way, Durham, NH 03824 where contributions may be made in lieu of flowers.
Services are private A public remembrance will be scheduled at a later date. To sign an online guestbook, visit www.purdyfuneralservice.com