ArticlePDF Available

Motivations for Men and Women's Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration: A Comprehensive Review

Authors:

Abstract

The main purpose of this review article was to collect and summarize all available papers that reported empirical data related to men's and women's motivations for IPV. To facilitate direct gender comparisons, the motives reported in each obtained study were coded by the current authors into seven broad categories: (a) power/control, (b) self-defense, (c) expression of negative emotion (i.e., anger), (d) communication difficulties, (e) retaliation, (f) jealousy, and (g) other. Across the 75 samples (located in 74 articles) that were reviewed and coded for this study, 24 contained samples of only women (32%), 6 samples consisted of only men (8%), and 46 samples used both women and men (62%). Power/control and self-defense were commonly measured motivations (76% and 61%, respectively). However, using violence as an expression of negative emotion (63%), communication difficulties (48%), retaliation (60%), or because of jealousy (49%) were also commonly assessed motives. In 62% of the samples, at least one other type of motive was also measured. Only 18 of the located study samples (24%) included data that allowed for a direct gender comparison of men's and women's reported motivations. Many of these studies did not subject their data to statistical analyses. Among those that did, very few gender-specific motives for perpetration emerged. These results should be viewed with caution, however, because many methodological and measurement challenges exist in this field. There was also considerable heterogeneity across papers making direct gender comparisons problematic.
www.springerpub.com/pa
partner
abuse
New Directions in Research,
Intervention, and Policy
With the Compliments of Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Partner Abuse, Volume 3, Number 4, 2012
© 2012 Springer Publishing Company 429
http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/1946-6560.3.4.429
Motivations for Men and Women’s Intimate Partner
Violence Perpetration: A Comprehensive Review
Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, PhD
Adrianne McCullars, MS
Tiffany A. Misra, MS
University of South Alabama
The main purpose of this review article was to collect and summarize all
available papers that reported empirical data related to men’s and women’s
motivations for IPV. To facilitate direct gender comparisons, the motives
reported in each obtained study were coded by the current authors into
seven broad categories: (a) power/control, (b) self-defense, (c) expression of
negative emotion (i.e., anger), (d) communication difficulties, (e) retaliation,
(f) jealousy, and (g) other. Across the 75 samples (located in 74 articles)
that were reviewed and coded for this study, 24 contained samples of only
women (32%), 6 samples consisted of only men (8%), and 46 samples used
both women and men (62%). Power/control and self-defense were com-
monly measured motivations (76% and 61%, respectively). However, using
violence as an expression of negative emotion (63%), communication dif-
ficulties (48%), retaliation (60%), or because of jealousy (49%) were also
commonly assessed motives. In 62% of the samples, at least one other type
of motive was also measured. Only 18 of the located study samples (24%)
included data that allowed for a direct gender comparison of men’s and
women’s reported motivations. Many of these studies did not subject their
data to statistical analyses. Among those that did, very few gender-specific
motives for perpetration emerged. These results should be viewed with cau-
tion, however, because many methodological and measurement challenges
ONLINE TABLES: Detailed summaries of the 74 studies reviewed in this article can be found
in the table available online at www.springerpub.com/pa. Click on the link to “The Partner Abuse
State of Knowledge Project” and go to Topic 10 in the online document.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
430 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
exist in this field. There was also considerable heterogeneity across papers
making direct gender comparisons problematic.
KEYWORDS: intimate partner violence; gender differences; motivations; power; self-defense; jealousy
One important but controversial question in the field of partner violence centers on
what motivates people to perpetrate this socially undesirable and dangerous behavior
in their romantic relationships. It has typically been assumed that aggression is a
goal-directed behavior such that people are motivated to perpetrate violence with
the expectation that their violent behavior will in some way benefit them, despite its
obvious negative consequences (Buss, 1961). Benefits to the aggressor could include
regaining a sense of power or control, protecting the self from ongoing physical or
emotional pain (i.e., self-defense), transmitting communication about intrapersonal
(i.e., anger) or interpersonal processes (i.e., relationship dissatisfaction, jealousy), or
retaliating for past injustices (i.e., infidelity). Theoretically, each of these perceived
benefits could then be expected to function as a primary motivation for the produc-
tion of violence. Thus, reducing the perceived benefits while enhancing negative con-
sequences to one’s partner and relationship that can result from intimate partner
violence (IPV) might facilitate intervention strategies for this prevalent and yet de-
structive behavior. Characterizing the motives that frequently emerge as perceived
reasons for perpetrating violence was the primary aim of this study.
However, through the process of conceptualizing and assessing potential motiva-
tions for violence, a second important and controversial question emerged. Specifi-
cally, do the motives for perpetrating physical IPV differ for men versus women?
Consequently, in this review, the literature comparing the motives for both men’s and
women’s perpetration of physical IPV will be reviewed and analyzed.
Addressing the two central questions of what motivates partners to perpetrate IPV
and whether such motivations are different for men and women has important clini-
cal and policy implications (Saunders, 2002). Specifically, if men’s violence is enacted
to subjugate women and keep them in a position of vulnerability and disempower-
ment, then the treatment of men’s violence will best be understood in the context
of societal inequities for women. Correspondingly, if women’s violence is primarily
enacted out of self-defense in response to their male partner’s violence, they should
not be considered “husband batterers.” Furthermore, they are unlikely to benefit from
being mandated to “abuser/batterer” treatment programs that were designed specifi-
cally for men. Under these conditions, the physical violence that women perpetrate
in their romantic relationships may best be understood as a response to men’s enact-
ment of power to maintain their long-standing position of societal and interpersonal
dominance and privilege. Taking into account women’s subjugated position in our
culture, their resulting victimization then becomes a necessary component of success-
ful interventions for IPV (Hamberger & Potente, 1994).
On the other hand, if both men’s and women’s physical violence is motivated by
anger management concerns, lack of skills to communicate successfully with intimate
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 431
partners, or because of jealousy perhaps resulting from an inability to securely at-
tach to one’s partner, different types of IPV interventions are likely to be necessary
(Langhinrichsen-Rohling, 2010). Interventions that take into account these types
of motivations for violence most likely need to address psychological issues and
relationship-specific concerns that are unique to each perpetrator. These interventions
may also not need to be so gender-specific in their construction or enactment. Several
researchers and clinicians have also suggested that there is heterogeneity among
motivations for perpetrating IPV among men and perhaps women, too, primarily be-
cause there are substantially different types of perpetrators ( Holtzworth-Munroe &
Stuart, 1994; Johnson, 1995, 2005). For example, one type of perpetrator may engage
in violence because of problems with emotional regulation or the expression of anger;
a different type of perpetrator may be motivated to aggress against their partner to
dominate or control them or aggress in self-defense in response to a dangerous part-
ner (Langhinrichsen-Rohling, 2010). With that said, it will be important to examine
the research that has focused on whether there are different violence motivations for
subgroups of perpetrators.
It is necessary to note that literature reviews related to this topic have been con-
ducted previously. For example, in 2003, Malloy, McCloskey, Grigsby, and Gardner
conducted a qualitative review of women’s use of violence within their intimate rela-
tionships. These authors located the question of whether there are differences between
men’s and women’s motivations for violence under the larger issue of whether or not
there is “gender symmetry” in intimate violence perpetration. In essence, gender dif-
ferences in motivations such that men use violence to control or coerce their partner,
whereas women primarily use violence in self-defense would provide evidence that
disputes the notion of gender symmetry in perpetration (Dobash, Dobash, Wilson, &
Daly, 1992; Pence & Paymar, 1993). Conversely, more similarity in men and women’s
motives for perpetrating IPV would tend to support the gender symmetry position.
In the Malloy et al. (2003) review, two empirical articles that focused on motiva-
tions were highlighted. Specifically, in 1999, Dasgupta interviewed 32 women who
had been court ordered to treatment as a result of their perpetration of IPV. Using
transcriptions of the interviews that were conducted, motives for perpetrating IPV
were coded. Dasgupta (1999) reported that several motivations for these women’s
perpetration emerged in her analysis. However, according to her coding of the tran-
scribed interviews, the most common reason self-reported by these women was that
they used violence to end their own abuse (i.e., in self-defense).
Malloy et al. (2003) also cited a study by Cascardi and Vivian (1995) which used
a sample of married couples seeking relationship treatment. Cascardi and Vivian
considered the perceived function of men’s and women’s perpetration of both mild
and severe violence. Several functions were reported by both genders (e.g., anger/
coercion, anger, provocation, personality functions, and stress). As per their results,
there were no gender differences in reports of self-defense functions for mild violence
(10% of husbands’ perpetration was coded as serving this function vs. 5% of wives’
perpetration). For severe violence perpetration, 20% of wives’ indicated that it was
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
432 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
done in self-defense versus 0% of husbands. Yet, despite the Malloy et al. review’s
reliance on just two studies with heterogeneous results, these authors concluded that
“striking differences are found between women and men concerning the motivation
for using IPV, with women often using IPV in self-defense and most men using IPV to
control their intimate partners” (p. 54).
Then, in 2008, a second review of the literature was conducted. Swan, Gambone,
Caldwell, Sullivan, and Snow (2008) also focused on summarizing the literature
pertaining to the motivations underlying women’s violence. These authors first con-
sidered gender differences in the prevalence rates of six different types of violence
(e.g., physical aggression perpetration, sexual coercion, stalking, psychological ag-
gression, coercive control, and injury production). Swan et al. concluded that although
rates of physical and psychological violence are similar between men and women,
men perpetrate substantially more of the other types of violence. As a result of these
and other dissimilarities between men’s and women’s violence, these authors chose
to focus on what motivates women to perpetrate IPV as different from what motives
men to perpetrate IPV. They cited evidence which indicates that women report more
fear of their partner’s violence and that battered women’s children are also likely to
be abused. Although it can be argued that neither of these factors are proximal mo-
tivations, Swan et al. used these data to infer that women are more motivated than
men to perpetrate violence to protect themselves and their children.
Swan et al. (2008) did acknowledge data from multiple studies indicating that both
women and men perpetrate violence to regain or maintain control of their relation-
ships, to defend themselves, and in response to retaliation from previous abuse. They
also note that there are inconsistencies in the literature surrounding gender differ-
ences in most measured motivations. However, these authors still conclude that there
are significant differences in the motivations between men’s and women’s violence.
They further surmise that these differences indicate that male-derived interventions
for violence may not be effective for many women (Swan et al., 2008).
Although both of these publications were some of the first to examine motiva-
tions underlying women’s perpetration of IPV, there were some limitations in these
reviews. First, both the Swan et al. (2008) and Malloy et al. (2003) literature reviews
appear not to be comprehensive in nature. Neither review provided evidence that
they conducted an exhaustive search of the motivational literature. As a result, they
drew their conclusions from a limited number of studies. Second, although both re-
views chose to focus on understanding women’s motivations for perpetrating violence,
they finished their reviews by making conclusions relating to the question of whether
men and women have substantially different motives for perpetrating physically vio-
lent acts against their intimate partner. Last, it could be argued that worries about
the intergenerational transmission of violence and experiences of fear as a result of
victimization are important components of the experience of IPV; however, they may
not qualify as motivations for perpetration. Thus, to the extent possible, this review
concentrated on papers that specifically measured motivations or reasons for perpe-
tration of IPV.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 433
Consequently, the main purpose of this review article was to collect and summarize
all available papers that reported empirical data related to both men’s and women’s
motivations for IPV. To facilitate the ability to make comparisons across papers, the
motives reported in each obtained study were coded by the current authors into seven
broad categories: (a) power/control, (b) self-defense, (c) expression of negative emotion
(i.e., anger), (d) communication difficulties, (e) retaliation, (f) jealousy, and (g) other.
Studies were also coded for type of sample (i.e., large populations, smaller community,
university/school, clinical, and justice/legal) and the measurement devices that were
used for motivations and for the perpetration of physical violence. Some of the ob-
tained studies used vignettes to assess participants’ perceptions of the perpetrator’s
motives; these were identified as perception/vignette studies. To facilitate a further
understanding of gender differences or similarities in motivations for IPV perpetra-
tion, existing empirical studies were also coded for whether they measured motiva-
tions for men’s physical violence, motivations for women’s physical violence, or both.
Within studies that assessed motivations for both men’s and women’s perpetration of
IPV, whether the men and women were a couple or were unrelated to each other was
also determined.
Among the studies that measured motivations for the perpetration of both men’s
and women’s violence, coders documented whether or not the data provided a way for
the reviewers to make direct gender comparisons. When gender comparisons were
available, studies were further coded as to whether the study reported the correla-
tions between violence perpetration and some measured motivation-related risk factor
(i.e., levels of control, jealousy, or anger) or whether the study specifically compared the
degree to which men and women self-reported the same motivations for their violence.
Because of the expectation of heterogeneity among studies in this field (Shorey,
Meltzer, & Cornelius, 2010), this review should be considered primarily descriptive in
nature. Nonetheless, the following a priori hypotheses were offered:
1. It was expected that most of the existing studies would be obtained from uni-
versity/school samples rather than large population, smaller community, clini-
cal, or justice/legal samples.
2. It was expected that more studies would be located that focused on the moti-
vations for men’s violence perpetration than women’s violence perpetration.
3. It was expected that few of the existing studies would have data that directly
compared motivations for the perpetration of men’s versus women’s violence.
4. It was further expected that even fewer studies would contain data from men
and women who were reporting about their mutual current romantic rela-
tionship. This would also limit direct gender-based comparisons because only
studies with data from both partners in a dyadic relationship would be able
to consider the couple as a unit of analysis (i.e., Winstok & Eisikovits, 2008).
5. It was expected that existing empirical studies would primarily focus on
control/dominance and self-defense as motivations for men’s versus women’s
violence, respectively (i.e., Shorey et al., 2010).
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
434 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
6. However, when assessed, it was expected that diverse motivations for physi-
cal violence perpetration would emerge (Shorey et al., 2010). These diverse
motives might include the following: because it was sexually arousing, the
person was under stress, to show anger or as a consequence of emotional dys-
regulation, to keep from being ignored or to get a partner’s attention, to get
away from a partner, to obtain love, or because of reduced inhibitions caused
by alcohol or drug use (i.e., Follingstad, Wright, Lloyd, & Sabastian, 1991;
Leisring, 2011; Ross, 2011).
7. Considerable heterogeneity among studies was expected in terms of sample
type, measures used, and who was reporting on the motivation.
METHOD
Study Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
Studies eligible for this review were those that directly investigated motivations for
the perpetration of physical IPV. For inclusion, studies were required to investigate
and report results pertaining to the motivation of either men’s or women’s perpetra-
tion of physical violence in an intimate relationship. Studies that exclusively focused
on motivations for psychological aggression, sexual coercion, stalking, or coercive con-
trol were eliminated (i.e., psychological aggression; Shorey, Cornelius, & Idema, 2011).
Studies that focused exclusively on factors that motivate physical IPV victimization
were also excluded (e.g., Tanha, Beck, Figueredo, & Raghavan, 2010). In addition,
studies that focused on motives as associated with other related constructs were also
excluded (e.g., control and marital commitment; Stets & Hammons, 2002). Included
studies had to report empirical data, be written in English, use Western populations
(i.e., samples within the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, or
Spain), be published during 1990 or later (or be an initial or seminal paper in the
literature), and appear in a peer-reviewed journal. Consequently, excluded studies
included theoretical or review articles, single case studies, studies focusing on aggres-
sion that was not defined as physical violence, studies of victimization, and material
published solely in a book or a book chapter (unless the paper was widely cited as a
seminal work in the field).
Data Sources and Search Strategy
Databases that were used in searching for articles included the following: Academic
Search Premier, ERIC, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Biomedical Reference Col-
lection, and SocINDEX. Articles were searched using date criteria from 1990 to
September 2011 and with the following terms searched in all fields: IPV, domestic
violence, spouse abuse, dating violence, or partner violence; and motivation, self-
defense, control, anger, communication, retaliation, jealousy. The initial search was
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 435
augmented with a bibliographic review of all located studies and related review arti-
cles. Several additional articles were located in this fashion. In addition, these search
strategies located a few studies on motivations for perpetrating IPV that were pub-
lished prior to 1990 or were contained in a book chapter. Given that many of these
additional studies were frequently cited and typically constituted landmark articles
in the field (i.e., Dasgupta, 1999; Makepeace, 1986) and contained codeable data, they
were retained for this review. Finally, based on the titles of papers that were located
for this review, several additional searches were conducted with the following terms
(reasons, justifications, antecedents, perceived function, and context) to confirm that
all relevant studies were located for this review.
Study Selection
As shown in Table 1, the initial search yielded more than 7,000 articles (n 5 7,631).
The initial search terms used were broad by design; as a result, many obviously irrel-
evant articles appeared in the initial searches. However, if an article’s title indicated
that it could be relevant to this study, the abstract was reviewed. Next, full text articles
were retrieved for the 90 studies that appeared to be eligible for inclusion in this re-
view, or for which eligibility could not be determined from the title and abstract alone.
Two independent reviewers read these 90 articles to determine relevance. These re-
viewers agreed that 57 of these studies were appropriate for inclusion in this review.
A number of the excluded articles were topically relevant but did not include any
codeable empirical data (e.g., Winstok & Eisikovits, 2008); many other located studies
were theoretical or speculative in nature. Next, references cited in the 90 obtained
TABLE 1. A Description of the Initial Search Results
Initial
Search IPV
Domestic
Violence
Partner
Violence
Spouse
Abuse
Dating
Violence Subtotals
Motivation 238 436 283 144 32 1,133
Power/control 262 584 303 193 34 1,376
Self-defense 72 241 94 45 17 469
Expression
of negative
emotion
(e.g., anger)
271 746 345 207 75 1,644
Communication 393 1,145 448 244 97 2,327
Retaliation 31 70 38 17 3 159
Jealousy 110 160 133 82 38 523
Subtotals 1,377 3,382 1,644 932 296 Total 5 7,631
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
436 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
articles and the 57 selected studies were also considered to obtain additional studies
that might qualify for inclusion; additional searches were also conducted with terms
used in the identified papers. This iterative process yielded another 17 studies that
contained codeable empirical data related to this topic. Thus, 74 papers are included
in the final online review table that corresponds to this manuscript. One of these
studies reported results on two distinct samples; thus, most tables included in this
review article refer to 75 samples that were drawn from 74 empirical articles.
Data Abstraction Process
The task leaders of this article in conjunction with the editors of the Partner Abuse
State of Knowledge Project (Hamel, Langhinrichsen-Rohling, & Hines, 2012) devel-
oped a data extraction coding system to record relevant information from eligible
studies. This information is reported in the comprehensive online review table that
corresponds to this article. The table was developed in an iterative fashion with ex-
tensive communication between task leaders and directors. As a result, the final on-
line table includes the full reference of each included paper along with its sample
setting (i.e., large population, small community, university/school, clinical, or jus-
tice/legal), sample characteristics (i.e., demographics, size), methodology and design
(i.e., cross-sectional, self-report), and results. The measures used to quantify both
motivations and IPV was recorded. Results were organized first according to sample
characteristics (if the results were broken down into such groups). Within each type
of sample, reported results were then categorized into the seven broad motivation
groups that were identified by the authors of this article. These overall motivations
were those most commonly seen in the literature and consisted of (a) power/control,
(b) self-defense, (c) expression of emotion (i.e., anger), (d) communication, (e) retali-
ation, (g) jealousy, and (h) other. Several additional tables were then constructed to
address the hypotheses advanced for this review article. These tables are included
solely within this manuscript.
RESULTS
Hypothesis 1 postulated that a search of the relevant literature would locate more
articles using university/school than population-based, community-based, clinical, or
justice/legal samples. As shown in Table 2, 28 of the 75 samples (37%) were drawn
from university/school participants. In addition, 23 of the 75 samples (31%) were
obtained from justice/legal settings. Nine of the samples were categorized as coming
from a clinical setting (12%), 12 of the samples were coded as community (16%), and
only 3 large population studies (4%) were located for this review.
Hypothesis 2 predicted that the preponderance of studies would focus on men’s
motivations for perpetrating physical violence. Thus, it was expected that few studies
would focus on women’s motivations for physical violence perpetration. Likewise, it
was anticipated that relatively few studies would be found that directly compared
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 437
TABLE 2. Categorization of Samples by Setting, Gender of Participants in the Sample, and Study Methodology
(n 5 75 Samples From 74 Included Articles)
Study F M M & F Couples
No Gender
Compare
Gender
Compare Corr Typol
Vignette
Percept
Large population studies
Felson & Outlaw (2007) X X
Felson & Messner (2000) X X
Carrado, George, Loxam, Jones, & Templar (1996) X X
Community samples
Caldwell, Swan, Allen, Sullivan, & Snow (2009) X X
Ross & Babcock (2009) X X
Foshee, Bauman, Linder, Rice, & Wilcher (2007) X X
Hamel, Desmarais, & Nicholls (2007) X X
Weston, Marshall & Coker (2007) X X
O’Leary, Smith Slep, & O’Leary (2007) X X
O’Leary & Slep (2006) X X
Graham-Kevan & Archer (2005) X X
Rosen, Stith, Few, Daly, & Tritt (2005) X X
Babcock, Costa, Green, & Eckhardt (2004)-Study 2 X X
Sarantakos (2004) X X
Ehrensaft, Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Heyman,
O’Leary, & Lawrence (1999)
X X
(continued)
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
438 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
TABLE 2. (continued)
Study F M M & F Couples
No Gender
Compare
Gender
Compare Corr Typol
Vignette
Percept
University/school samples
Leisring (in press) X X
Cornelius, Shorey, & Beebe (2010) X X
Shorey et al. (2010) X X
Walley-Jean & Swan (2009) X X
Cousins & Gangestad (2007) X X
Fernandez-Fuertes & Fuertes (2010) X X
Hettrich & O’Leary (2007) X X
Nabors, Dietz, & Jasinski (2006) X X
Forbes, Jobe, White, Bloesch, & Adams-Curtis (2005) X X
Olson & Lloyd (2005) X X
Perry & Fromuth (2005) X X
Archer & Graham-Kevan (2003) X X
Follingstad, Bradley, Helff, & Laughin (2002) X X
Harned (2001) X X
Jackson, Cram, & Seymour (2000) X X
Yick & Agbayani - Siewert (2000) X X
Milardo (1998) X X
DeKeseredy, Saunders, Schwartz, & Alvi (1997) X X
Fiebert & Gonzalez (1997) X X
Foshee (1996) X X
Gagne & Lavoie (1993) X X
Bookwala, Frieze, Smith, & Ryan (1992) X X
Follingstad et al. (1991) X X
Stets & Pirog-Good (1990) X X
Arias & Johnson (1989) X X
Dutton & Browning (1988) X X
Mason & Blankenship (1987) X X
Makepeace (1986) X X
Clinical samples X X
Downs, Rindels, & Atkinson (2007) X X
Kernsmith (2005) X X
Babcock et al. (2004)-Study 1 X X
Lavoie, Robitaille, & Hebert (2000) X X
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) X X
Prince & Arias (1994) X X
Campbell, Oliver, & Bullock (1993) X X
Dutton & Strachan (1987) X X
Saunders (1986) X X
Justice or legal samples
Ross (2011) X X
Swan & Sullivan (2009) X X
Flemke & Allen (2008) X X
Simmons, Lehmann, & Cobb (2008) X X
Smith (2008) X X
Seamans, Rubin, & Stabb (2007) X X
Ward & Muldoon (2007) X X
Miller & Meloy (2006) X X
Stuart et al. (2006) X X
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 439
TABLE 2. (continued)
Study F M M & F Couples
No Gender
Compare
Gender
Compare Corr Typol
Vignette
Percept
University/school samples
Leisring (in press) X X
Cornelius, Shorey, & Beebe (2010) X X
Shorey et al. (2010) X X
Walley-Jean & Swan (2009) X X
Cousins & Gangestad (2007) X X
Fernandez-Fuertes & Fuertes (2010) X X
Hettrich & O’Leary (2007) X X
Nabors, Dietz, & Jasinski (2006) X X
Forbes, Jobe, White, Bloesch, & Adams-Curtis (2005) X X
Olson & Lloyd (2005) X X
Perry & Fromuth (2005) X X
Archer & Graham-Kevan (2003) X X
Follingstad, Bradley, Helff, & Laughin (2002) X X
Harned (2001) X X
Jackson, Cram, & Seymour (2000) X X
Yick & Agbayani - Siewert (2000) X X
Milardo (1998) X X
DeKeseredy, Saunders, Schwartz, & Alvi (1997) X X
Fiebert & Gonzalez (1997) X X
Foshee (1996) X X
Gagne & Lavoie (1993) X X
Bookwala, Frieze, Smith, & Ryan (1992) X X
Follingstad et al. (1991) X X
Stets & Pirog-Good (1990) X X
Arias & Johnson (1989) X X
Dutton & Browning (1988) X X
Mason & Blankenship (1987) X X
Makepeace (1986) X X
Clinical samples X X
Downs, Rindels, & Atkinson (2007) X X
Kernsmith (2005) X X
Babcock et al. (2004)-Study 1 X X
Lavoie, Robitaille, & Hebert (2000) X X
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) X X
Prince & Arias (1994) X X
Campbell, Oliver, & Bullock (1993) X X
Dutton & Strachan (1987) X X
Saunders (1986) X X
Justice or legal samples
Ross (2011) X X
Swan & Sullivan (2009) X X
Flemke & Allen (2008) X X
Simmons, Lehmann, & Cobb (2008) X X
Smith (2008) X X
Seamans, Rubin, & Stabb (2007) X X
Ward & Muldoon (2007) X X
Miller & Meloy (2006) X X
Stuart et al. (2006) X X
(continued)
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
440 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
TABLE 2. (continued)
Study F M M & F Couples
No Gender
Compare
Gender
Compare Corr Typol
Vignette
Percept
Hamberger & Guse (2005) X X
Henning, Jones, & Holdford (2005) X X
Dobash & Dobash (2004) X X
Babcock, Miller, & Siard (2003) X X
Swan & Snow (2003) X X
Weizmann-Henelius, Viemero, & Eronen (2003) X X
Hamberger & Guse (2002) X X
Dasgupta (1999) X X
Barnett, Lee, & Thelen (1997) X X
Hamberger (1997) X X
Hamberger, Lohr, Bonge, & Tolin (1997) X X
Grant (1995) X X
Hamberger, Lohr, & Bonge (1994) X X
Claes & Rosenthal (1990) X X
Column Totals 24 6 34 12 35 18 8 6 9
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 441
motivations for men’s and women’s violence. However, as depicted in Table 2, across
the 75 samples (located in 74 articles) that were reviewed and coded for this study,
24 contained samples of only women (32%), 6 samples consisted of men only (8%),
and 46 samples used both women and men (62%). Contrary to expectation, 12 of the
46 samples that used both women and men had data from women and men who were
in a relationship with one another (i.e., couples, 26%).
According to Hypothesis 3, it was also expected that not many existing studies
would contain data that directly compared motivations for men’s versus women’s
violence. As shown in Table 2, 18 of the located study samples (24%) included data
that allowed for a direct comparison of men’s and women’s reported motivations for
perpetrating physical violence against their relationship partner. Another eight stud-
ies (11%) reported correlations between a motivational factor and IPV perpetration
for both men and women. Thirty-five of the studies (47%) did not include data that
would allow a comparison of men’s versus women’s motivations, although some of
these papers included men and women in the sample. The remaining 15 manuscripts
(20%) constituted perception/vignette (n 5 9) or typology (n 5 6) study samples.
Next, Hypothesis 4 predicted that among those studies with direct comparisons of
men’s versus women’s motivations for perpetrating IPV (n 5 18), few of these stud-
ies would contain data from men and women who were in a couple relationship with
one another. This hypothesis was supported because only three of the located study
samples that had self-reported motives for both the male and the female partner
came from a study sample of couples (i.e., Cascardi & Vivian., 1995; Ehrensaft et al.,
1999; Perry & Fromuth, 2005; 27% of the couple samples). Four of the study samples
with couples contained data that included only correlations between potential moti-
vational factors and IPV perpetration for men and women (36%), making direct com-
parisons of perceived motivational factors more difficult (i.e., Cousins & Gangestad,
2007; O’Leary & Slep, 2006; O’Leary et al, 2007; Stets & Pirog-Good, 1990). Three of
the remaining studies using couples were focused on typology research and motiva-
tions (Babcock et al., 2004, Study 2; Rosen et al., 2005; Ross & Babcock, 2009) and
the final couple study included qualitative interviews of both members of the dyad;
direct comparisons of motives between genders was not possible on the basis of the
presented data (Dobash & Dobash, 2004).
Across all the obtained manuscripts and regarding the motivations that were
measured a priori, it was expected that existing empirical studies would primarily
focus on control/dominance and self-defense as motivating factors for men’s versus
women’s violence. As shown in Table 3, both power/control and self-defense were com-
monly measured motivations (n 5 57 of 75 samples, 76% and n 5 46 of 75 samples,
61%, respectively). However, violence motivated by the expression of negative emo-
tion (e.g., anger; 47 of 75 samples or 63%), communication/influence efforts or difficul-
ties (36 of 75 samples or 48%), as a means to retaliate (45 of 75 samples or 60%), and
because of jealousy/cheating (37 of 75 samples or 49%) were also commonly studied.
Finally, contrary to expectations of Hypothesis 5, in 47 of 75 samples (63%), at least
one other type of motive was also measured.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
442 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
TABLE 3. Motivations Measured in Each of the 75 Coded Samples
Reference P/C SD ENE C R J Other
Archer & Graham-Kevan (2003) X Instrumental/expressive
Arias & Johnson (1989) X X X Defense of child
Babcock et al. (2004; clinical) X X X
Babcock et al. (2004; community) X X X
Babcock et al. (2003) X X X Accepting blame for being violent; fear for
other’s/children
Barnett et al. (1997) X X X X X Unaware of intention, just teasing other
Bookwala et al. (1992) X X X Adversarial sexual beliefs
Caldwell et al. (2009) X X X X X X
Campbell et al. (1993) X X Pregnancy specific;
Carrado et al. (1996) X X X X under the influence; it was in his character
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) X X X X X Personality, substance use, provocation,
don’t know
Claes & Rosenthal (1990) X
Cornelius et al. (2010) X
Cousins & Gangestad (2007) X X X
Dasgupta (1999) X X X X Raised to be tough
DeKeseredy et al. (1997) X X Initiated the attack
Dobash & Dobash (2004) X
Downs et al. (2007) X Nonphysical means of self-defense
Dutton & Browning (1988) X Participants rated perceived anger of
videotaped men
Dutton & Strachan (1987) X X
Ehrensaft et al. (1999) X
Felson & Messner (2000) X
Felson & Outlaw (2007) X X
Fernandez-Fuertes & Fuertes (2010) X X
Fiebert & Gonzalez (1997) X X X X Men trained not to hit, get turned on
sexually, Childhood impact; men protect
themselves
Flemke & Allen (2008) X X X
Follingstad et al. (2002) X X
Follingstad et al. (1991) X X X X X X Sexually arousing
Forbes et al. (2005) X
Foshee (1996) X
Foshee et al. (2007) X X X X X
Gagne & Lavoie (1993) X X X X X Behavior problems, alcohol/drugs, pure
violence
Graham-Kevan & Archer (2005) X X
Grant (1995) X X X X Drunk or drug use
Hamberger & Guse (2005) X X X X X Don’t know why
Hamberger & Guse (2002) X
Hamberger (1997) X X X X X Don’t know why
Hamberger et al. (1994) X X X X X Don’t know why, alcohol excuse
Hamberger, et al. (1997) X X X X X X Professed ignorance, nonspecifics/alcohol
Hamel et al. (2007) X Coercive and expressive perceptions only
Harned (2001) X X X X X X To prove love, sexually arousing
Henning et al. (2005) X X X X Insecure in relationships, not fully
committed, alcohol or drugs
Hettrich & O’Leary (2007) X X X X Externally cued
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 443
TABLE 3. Motivations Measured in Each of the 75 Coded Samples
Reference P/C SD ENE C R J Other
Archer & Graham-Kevan (2003) X Instrumental/expressive
Arias & Johnson (1989) X X X Defense of child
Babcock et al. (2004; clinical) X X X
Babcock et al. (2004; community) X X X
Babcock et al. (2003) X X X Accepting blame for being violent; fear for
other’s/children
Barnett et al. (1997) X X X X X Unaware of intention, just teasing other
Bookwala et al. (1992) X X X Adversarial sexual beliefs
Caldwell et al. (2009) X X X X X X
Campbell et al. (1993) X X Pregnancy specific;
Carrado et al. (1996) X X X X under the influence; it was in his character
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) X X X X X Personality, substance use, provocation,
don’t know
Claes & Rosenthal (1990) X
Cornelius et al. (2010) X
Cousins & Gangestad (2007) X X X
Dasgupta (1999) X X X X Raised to be tough
DeKeseredy et al. (1997) X X Initiated the attack
Dobash & Dobash (2004) X
Downs et al. (2007) X Nonphysical means of self-defense
Dutton & Browning (1988) X Participants rated perceived anger of
videotaped men
Dutton & Strachan (1987) X X
Ehrensaft et al. (1999) X
Felson & Messner (2000) X
Felson & Outlaw (2007) X X
Fernandez-Fuertes & Fuertes (2010) X X
Fiebert & Gonzalez (1997) X X X X Men trained not to hit, get turned on
sexually, Childhood impact; men protect
themselves
Flemke & Allen (2008) X X X
Follingstad et al. (2002) X X
Follingstad et al. (1991) X X X X X X Sexually arousing
Forbes et al. (2005) X
Foshee (1996) X
Foshee et al. (2007) X X X X X
Gagne & Lavoie (1993) X X X X X Behavior problems, alcohol/drugs, pure
violence
Graham-Kevan & Archer (2005) X X
Grant (1995) X X X X Drunk or drug use
Hamberger & Guse (2005) X X X X X Don’t know why
Hamberger & Guse (2002) X
Hamberger (1997) X X X X X Don’t know why
Hamberger et al. (1994) X X X X X Don’t know why, alcohol excuse
Hamberger, et al. (1997) X X X X X X Professed ignorance, nonspecifics/alcohol
Hamel et al. (2007) X Coercive and expressive perceptions only
Harned (2001) X X X X X X To prove love, sexually arousing
Henning et al. (2005) X X X X Insecure in relationships, not fully
committed, alcohol or drugs
Hettrich & O’Leary (2007) X X X X Externally cued
(continued)
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
444 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
TABLE 3. (continued)
Reference P/C SD ENE C R J Other
Jackson et al. (2000) X X X X Alcohol
Kernsmith (2005) X X X X X X
Lavoie et al. (2000) X X X X X X Consensual sex play, alcohol and drugs,
want to be victims, Boys influenced by
delinquent peers
Leisring (in press) X X X X X X To prove love
Makepeace (1986) X X X X (Not specified)
Mason & Blankenship (1987) X X
Milardo (1998) X X X X X X
Miller & Meloy (2006) X X Generally violent
Nabors et al. (2006) X X X X Personality problem unlikely to change,
women secretly want it, women leave al-
cohol and drugs
O’Leary & Slep (2006) X X X Because being nagged
Because of child
O’Leary et al. (2007) X X X X Family of origin childhood history
Dominance/jealousy were measured
together
Olson & Lloyd (2005) X X X X X X Pain unresolved issues, drug or alcohol,
family learned pattern, insecure with re-
lationship, protection of partner
Perry & Fromuth (2005) X X X X X Playfulness
Prince & Arias (1994) X Self-esteem
Rosen et al. (2005) X X X X X
Ross (2011) X X X X X X Sexually arousing, influence of drugs
Ross & Babcock (2009) X X X X X Context predicts violence
Sarantakos (2004) X X X X
Saunders (1986) X X Initiating attack
Seamans et al. (2007) X X X X X X New baby stress, postpartum depression
Shorey et al. (2010) X X X X X X Sexually arousing, alcohol or drug
Simmons et al. (2008) X X X X X X Drunk
Smith (2008) X X X X Family of origin, violence
Stets & Pirog-Good (1990) X
Stuart et al. (2006) X X X X X X Get away from partner, alcohol or drug,
sexually arousing
Swan & Sullivan (2009) X
Swan & Snow (2003) X X X
Walley-Jean & Swan (2009) X X X X X X Sexually arousing
Ward & Muldoon (2007) X X X X Drinking or drug use
Weizmann-Henelius et al. (2003) X X X X
Weston et al. (2007) X X X X X Personal problems, childhood experiences
Yick & Agbayani-Siewert (2000) X X X X X Drunk
TOTALS 57 46 47 36 45 37 47
Total % in 75 samples 76 61 63 48 60 49 63
Note. P/C 5 power/control; SD 5 self-defense; ENE 5 expression of negative emotion; C 5 communication; R 5 retaliation; J 5 jealousy.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 445
TABLE 3. (continued)
Reference P/C SD ENE C R J Other
Jackson et al. (2000) X X X X Alcohol
Kernsmith (2005) X X X X X X
Lavoie et al. (2000) X X X X X X Consensual sex play, alcohol and drugs,
want to be victims, Boys influenced by
delinquent peers
Leisring (in press) X X X X X X To prove love
Makepeace (1986) X X X X (Not specified)
Mason & Blankenship (1987) X X
Milardo (1998) X X X X X X
Miller & Meloy (2006) X X Generally violent
Nabors et al. (2006) X X X X Personality problem unlikely to change,
women secretly want it, women leave al-
cohol and drugs
O’Leary & Slep (2006) X X X Because being nagged
Because of child
O’Leary et al. (2007) X X X X Family of origin childhood history
Dominance/jealousy were measured
together
Olson & Lloyd (2005) X X X X X X Pain unresolved issues, drug or alcohol,
family learned pattern, insecure with re-
lationship, protection of partner
Perry & Fromuth (2005) X X X X X Playfulness
Prince & Arias (1994) X Self-esteem
Rosen et al. (2005) X X X X X
Ross (2011) X X X X X X Sexually arousing, influence of drugs
Ross & Babcock (2009) X X X X X Context predicts violence
Sarantakos (2004) X X X X
Saunders (1986) X X Initiating attack
Seamans et al. (2007) X X X X X X New baby stress, postpartum depression
Shorey et al. (2010) X X X X X X Sexually arousing, alcohol or drug
Simmons et al. (2008) X X X X X X Drunk
Smith (2008) X X X X Family of origin, violence
Stets & Pirog-Good (1990) X
Stuart et al. (2006) X X X X X X Get away from partner, alcohol or drug,
sexually arousing
Swan & Sullivan (2009) X
Swan & Snow (2003) X X X
Walley-Jean & Swan (2009) X X X X X X Sexually arousing
Ward & Muldoon (2007) X X X X Drinking or drug use
Weizmann-Henelius et al. (2003) X X X X
Weston et al. (2007) X X X X X Personal problems, childhood experiences
Yick & Agbayani-Siewert (2000) X X X X X Drunk
TOTALS 57 46 47 36 45 37 47
Total % in 75 samples 76 61 63 48 60 49 63
Note. P/C 5 power/control; SD 5 self-defense; ENE 5 expression of negative emotion; C 5 communication; R 5 retaliation; J 5 jealousy.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
446 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
However, when assessed, it was also expected, in Hypothesis 6 that diverse motiva-
tions for physical violence perpetration would emerge in studies that assessed for vari-
ous motives. Among the 75 study samples, either one (n 5 12; 16%) or two (n 5 7; 9%) of
the preidentified seven-coded motivations were assessed. Another 17 studies assessed
three or four of the coded motivations (23%). The remainder of studies (n 5 39) coded
five, six, or seven of the main motivations (52%).
Among the studies that reported “other” specific motivations generated by par-
ticipants, several emerged with some frequency. Specifically, within the 75 study
samples, 16 of the authors indicated that drug or alcohol use or abuse was cited as
a motivating factor for the perpetration of IPV (22%). Eight of the studies indicated
that sexual arousal was generated as a motivation for perpetrating physical violence
against an intimate partner (11%). Personality or character issues, modeling effects
from family of origin violence, playfulness/teasing, and unknown reasons were also
generated by participants as motives for physical violence in more than one study.
As noted in Table 2, eight of the located and included studies reported correlations
between a potential motivational factor and violence perpetration for men versus
women. It is likely, however, that many other studies of this sort are included in pa-
pers reviewing risk factors and violence perpetration. Thus, these results should be
considered cautiously.
Of these eight studies, six (75%) reported associations between power/control
(or instrumental beliefs about aggression, high need for power; proprietariness, or
dominance/jealousy) and IPV. Three of these studies (38%) reported a greater re-
lationship between power/control and perpetration for men as opposed to women
generally (Archer & Graham-Kevan, 2003; Mason & Blankenship, 1987) and among
ex-spouses only (Felson & Outlaw, 2007). Four of the studies reported no significant
gender differences in this association: macho was unrelated to perpetration for both
genders (Bookwala et al., 1992), no relation between power/control and perpetration
for male or female spouses in current marriages (Felson & Outlaw, 2007), jealousy/
dominance was significantly associated with perpetration for both men and women
(O’Leary et al., 2007), and control was related to perpetration of minor but not severe
violence for both genders (Stets & Pirog-Good, 1990). However, none of these studies
found a stronger association between power/control and women’s physical violence
than men’s physical violence.
In two of the correlation studies, measures of relationship satisfaction were used
as correlates of physical violence perpetration against a partner. In United States,
married couples’ lack of marital satisfaction was significantly associated with vio-
lence perpetration for both husbands and wives (O’Leary et al., 2007). However, in
a sample from Spain, relationship dissatisfaction was significantly correlated with
perpetration for women (r 5 .22) but not for men (r 5 .13).
Three of the eight (38%) correlation studies reported associations between re-
taliation and/or anger and violence perpetration; one of these studies also measured
power/control along with retaliation. This study is reported earlier and indicates that
men are more likely to perpetrate violence in retaliation/dominance than are women
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 447
(Mason & Blankenship, 1987). One study failed to find a gender difference as retalia-
tion was a significant motive for perpetration for both genders (Bookwala et al., 1992).
In the study by O’Leary et al. (2007), anger was reported to be a significant correlate
of expressed violence for both men and women. No gender differences in the strength
of these associations were reported.
Four of the correlation studies (50%) reported findings related to the jealousy mo-
tive. In the study by O’Leary et al. (2007), dominance and jealousy were combined;
this construct was significantly associated with partner aggression for men and
women. Bookwala et al. (1992) used jealousy as a predictor of violence. Jealousy was
significantly correlated with women’s but not men’s expressed violence. The remain-
ing study in this group was conducted in Spain. They reported no gender differences
in the associations between jealousy and violence perpetration as jealousy motivated
IPV for both men and women (Fernandez-Fuertes & Fuertes, 2010).
Of primary importance to this review article is the data included in Tables 4, 5, 6,
and 7. These tables contrast studies that provide direct comparisons of women’s and
men’s self-reported motivations for perpetrating IPV. Some of the included studies
assessed the reported construct in multiple ways; each measurement is listed as a
separate row in the table resulting in nonindependence of reported data (i.e., some
studies had many more measurements of the same construct than did others). Very
few studies are included in each of these tables, indicating that all summaries of
these analyses should be treated with extreme caution.
Nonetheless, as shown in Table 4, of the 12 papers measuring power/control motives
for men and women perpetrators, three (25%) reported statistics indicating no signifi-
cant gender differences (Harned, 2001; Kernsmith, 2005; Ross, 2011). One paper (8%)
reported statistically significant results indicating that women were more motivated to
perpetrate physical violence as a result of power/control factors than men ( Follingstad
et al., 1991). Three papers (25%) reported results indicating that power/control factors
were more motivating for men than women (Barnett et al., 1997; Ehrensaft et al., 1999;
Shorey et al., 2010), and one paper reported mixed findings for gender (8%; Makepeace,
1986). The remaining four papers (33%) did not report statistics to indicate whether or
not the values they reported were significantly different between men and women.
As presented in Table 5, 13 of the 17 papers (76%) compared men’s and women’s
perpetration of physical violence for the purpose of self-defense. Among these papers,
three did not report statistics indicating whether or not the data differed signifi-
cantly between men and women. Five papers (38%) reported results indicating that
women were significantly more likely to report self-defense as a motive than men
(Barnett et al., 1997; Foshee, 1996; Kernsmith, 2005; Makepeace, 1986; Ross, 2011).
Four papers reported that no significant gender differences were obtained (Cascardi
& Vivian, 1995; Follingstad et al., 1991; Hamberger & Guse, 2002; Harned, 2001) and
the remaining paper reported that men endorsed self-defense as a motive for physical
violence perpetration significantly more often than did women (Shorey et al., 2010).
Data from 13 studies that considered anger and/or retaliation as motives for IPV
are presented in Table 6. Five of the presented studies (38%) did not report statistical
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
448 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
TABLE 4. Gender Differences in the Expression of Power/Control as a Motivation for Perpetrating Intimate Partner Violence
Measure Sample Item Description
Male Mean
or %
Female Mean
or % Statistic p value
Barnett et al. (1997) Male batterers;
females in a shelter
for battered women
Show who is boss 1.61 1.31 6.80 p ,
.01
M
Carrado et al. (1996) Men and women in
Britain
Make him or her do
something
26.0% 26.0% NR
Carrado et al. (1996) Men and women in
Britain
Make him or
her stop doing
something
43.0% 33.0%
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) Married couples: mild
aggression
Coercion or anger 65.0% 50.0% NR
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) Married couples:
severe aggression
Coercion/anger 57.0% 40.0%
Ehrensaft et al. (1999) Married ggressive
couples
Control scale from
interview
5.17 4.03 4.13 p ,
.05
M
Follingstad et al. (1991) College students To feel more
powerful
0% 3.4% W
Follingstad et al. (1991) College students To get control over
another
8.3% 22.0% 4.33 p ,
.05
Hamberger, et al. (1994) DV perpetrators Get him or her to
shut up
.79 .83 NR
Hamberger, et al. (1994) DV perpetrators To control her to
assert authority
.84 .94
Hamberger, et al. (1994) DV perpetrators Make him or her
listen
.82 .85
Harned (2001) Undergraduate and
graduate students
To get control 1.72 1.49 1.20 ns NS
Harned (2001) Undergraduate and
graduate students
To feel more
powerful
1.05 1.30 1.76 ns
Jackson et al. (2000) New Zealand high
school students
To get own way 28.8% 15.8% NR
Kernsmith (2005) DV perpetrators Factor: Exerting
power
.79 .86 ns NS
Makepeace (1986) College students To harm partner 2.40 8.30 p ,
.05
W
Makepeace (1986) College students To intimidate
partner
21.30 6.80 p ,
.05
M
Makepeace (1986) College students To get something 3.90 2.30
Ross (2011) DV perpetrators Dominate/punish 11.54 15.07 t , 1 ns NS
Shorey et al. (2010) College students To feel more
powerful
12.14 6.52 d 5
.24
M
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Control partner 12.85 6.08 d 5
.28
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Get partner to stop/
do something
12.14 6.52 d 5
.24
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Make partner agree
with you
4.28 2.39 d 5
.19
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Shut partner up 7.85 6.08 d 5
.11
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Make partner
scared/afraid
4.28 1.30 d 5
.29
Note. M 5 men more motivated by power/control than women; NR 5 no statistics were reported; W 5 women more motivated by
power/control than men; DV 5 domestic violence; NS 5 gender differences were nonsignificant.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 449
TABLE 4. Gender Differences in the Expression of Power/Control as a Motivation for Perpetrating Intimate Partner Violence
Measure Sample Item Description
Male Mean
or %
Female Mean
or % Statistic p value
Barnett et al. (1997) Male batterers;
females in a shelter
for battered women
Show who is boss 1.61 1.31 6.80 p ,
.01
M
Carrado et al. (1996) Men and women in
Britain
Make him or her do
something
26.0% 26.0% NR
Carrado et al. (1996) Men and women in
Britain
Make him or
her stop doing
something
43.0% 33.0%
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) Married couples: mild
aggression
Coercion or anger 65.0% 50.0% NR
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) Married couples:
severe aggression
Coercion/anger 57.0% 40.0%
Ehrensaft et al. (1999) Married ggressive
couples
Control scale from
interview
5.17 4.03 4.13 p ,
.05
M
Follingstad et al. (1991) College students To feel more
powerful
0% 3.4% W
Follingstad et al. (1991) College students To get control over
another
8.3% 22.0% 4.33 p ,
.05
Hamberger, et al. (1994) DV perpetrators Get him or her to
shut up
.79 .83 NR
Hamberger, et al. (1994) DV perpetrators To control her to
assert authority
.84 .94
Hamberger, et al. (1994) DV perpetrators Make him or her
listen
.82 .85
Harned (2001) Undergraduate and
graduate students
To get control 1.72 1.49 1.20 ns NS
Harned (2001) Undergraduate and
graduate students
To feel more
powerful
1.05 1.30 1.76 ns
Jackson et al. (2000) New Zealand high
school students
To get own way 28.8% 15.8% NR
Kernsmith (2005) DV perpetrators Factor: Exerting
power
.79 .86 ns NS
Makepeace (1986) College students To harm partner 2.40 8.30 p ,
.05
W
Makepeace (1986) College students To intimidate
partner
21.30 6.80 p ,
.05
M
Makepeace (1986) College students To get something 3.90 2.30
Ross (2011) DV perpetrators Dominate/punish 11.54 15.07 t , 1 ns NS
Shorey et al. (2010) College students To feel more
powerful
12.14 6.52 d 5
.24
M
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Control partner 12.85 6.08 d 5
.28
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Get partner to stop/
do something
12.14 6.52 d 5
.24
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Make partner agree
with you
4.28 2.39 d 5
.19
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Shut partner up 7.85 6.08 d 5
.11
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Make partner
scared/afraid
4.28 1.30 d 5
.29
Note. M 5 men more motivated by power/control than women; NR 5 no statistics were reported; W 5 women more motivated by
power/control than men; DV 5 domestic violence; NS 5 gender differences were nonsignificant.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
450 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
TABLE 5. Differences in the Expression of Self-Defense as a Motivation for Intimate Partner Violence
Study Sample Type Items
Male Mean
or %
Female Mean
or % Statistic p value
Barnett et al. (1997) Male batterers, fe-
males in a shelter
for battered women
Protecting self 1.19 1.32 4.04 p , .05 W
Carrado et al. (1996) Men and women in
British heterosex-
ual relationships
About to use
physical action
21.0% 17.0% NR
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) Married couples:
mild aggression
Self-defense 10.0% 5.0% NS
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) Married couples:
severe aggression
Self-defense 0% 20.0% x2 5 3.21 p , .07
Follingstad et al. (1991) College students To protect self 17.7% 18.6% x2 5 .09 ns NS
Foshee (1996) Eighth and
9th grade students
Self-defense 5.4% 15.9% x2 5
40.40
p , .001 W
Hamberger, et al. (1994) DV perpetrators Self-defense/
defend myself
.00 .50 NR
Hamberger & Guse
(2002)
DV perpetrators Partner used
violence in
self-defense
48.0% 52.0% ns NS
Hamberger & Guse
(2002)
Male DV perpetrators
vs. sheltered bat-
tered women
Partner used
violence in
self-defense
49.0% 29.0% ns
Harned (2001) Undergraduate and
graduate students
Self-defense 3.74 3.34 t , 1 ns NS
Henning et al. (2005) DV offenders Self-defense 50.0% 65.4% NR
Kernsmith (2005) DV offenders Factor: Striking
back for abuse
(to protect
yourself)
1.11 1.50 p , .05 W
Makepeace (1986) College students Self-defense 18.1% 35.6% p , .05 W
Ross (2011) DV perpetrators Defense 16.32 46.66 t 5 5.14 p , .001 W
Shorey et al. (2010) College students To protect self 7.14 2.17 d 5 .47 M
Note. W 5 women more motivated by self-defense than men; NR 5 no statistics were reported; NS 5 gender differences were
nonsignificant; DV 5 domestic violence; M 5 men more motivated by self-defense than women.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 451
TABLE 5. Differences in the Expression of Self-Defense as a Motivation for Intimate Partner Violence
Study Sample Type Items
Male Mean
or %
Female Mean
or % Statistic p value
Barnett et al. (1997) Male batterers, fe-
males in a shelter
for battered women
Protecting self 1.19 1.32 4.04 p , .05 W
Carrado et al. (1996) Men and women in
British heterosex-
ual relationships
About to use
physical action
21.0% 17.0% NR
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) Married couples:
mild aggression
Self-defense 10.0% 5.0% NS
Cascardi & Vivian (1995) Married couples:
severe aggression
Self-defense 0% 20.0% x2 5 3.21 p , .07
Follingstad et al. (1991) College students To protect self 17.7% 18.6% x2 5 .09 ns NS
Foshee (1996) Eighth and
9th grade students
Self-defense 5.4% 15.9% x2 5
40.40
p , .001 W
Hamberger, et al. (1994) DV perpetrators Self-defense/
defend myself
.00 .50 NR
Hamberger & Guse
(2002)
DV perpetrators Partner used
violence in
self-defense
48.0% 52.0% ns NS
Hamberger & Guse
(2002)
Male DV perpetrators
vs. sheltered bat-
tered women
Partner used
violence in
self-defense
49.0% 29.0% ns
Harned (2001) Undergraduate and
graduate students
Self-defense 3.74 3.34 t , 1 ns NS
Henning et al. (2005) DV offenders Self-defense 50.0% 65.4% NR
Kernsmith (2005) DV offenders Factor: Striking
back for abuse
(to protect
yourself)
1.11 1.50 p , .05 W
Makepeace (1986) College students Self-defense 18.1% 35.6% p , .05 W
Ross (2011) DV perpetrators Defense 16.32 46.66 t 5 5.14 p , .001 W
Shorey et al. (2010) College students To protect self 7.14 2.17 d 5 .47 M
Note. W 5 women more motivated by self-defense than men; NR 5 no statistics were reported; NS 5 gender differences were
nonsignificant; DV 5 domestic violence; M 5 men more motivated by self-defense than women.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
452 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
TABLE 6. Gender Differences in the Expression of Anger or Retaliation as a Motivation for Perpetrating Intimate
Partner Violence
Measure Sample
Anger or
Retaliation Item
Male Mean
or %
Female Mean
or % Statistic p Value
Barnett et al.
(1997)
Male batterers;
females in a shelter
for battered women
Retaliation To teach a lesson 1.58 1.39 2.50 ns
Carrado et al.
(1996)
Men and women in
British heterosexual
relationships
Retaliation Partner said
something or
threatened
53.0% 52.0%
Carrado et al.
(1996)
Men and women in
British heterosexual
relationships
Retaliation Partner did some
physical action
27.0% 21.0%
Cascardi &
Vivian (1995)
Married couples:
mild aggression
Anger Anger only 34.0% 40.0%
Cascardi &
Vivian (1995)
Married couples:
severe aggression
Anger Anger only 29.0% 52.0%
Cascardi &
Vivian (1995)
Married couples:
mild aggression
Provocation Provocation 7.0% 5.0%
Cascardi &
Vivian (1995)
Married couples:
severe aggression
Provocation Provocation 7.0% 12.0%
Follingstad et al.
(1991)
College students Anger To show anger 37.5% 57.6% 5.54 p , .05
Follingstad et al.
(1991)
College students Retaliation In retaliation for
emotional hurt
25.0% 55.9% 13.11 p , .0001
Follingstad et al.
(1991)
College students Retaliation In retaliation for
being hit
29.2% 13.6% 5.61 p , .05
Hamberger, et al.
(1994)
DV perpetrators Anger Express anger .92 .93
Hamberger, et al.
(1994)
DV perpetrators Retaliation/
punishment
To get him back/
punishment
.88 .85
Harned (2001) Undergraduate and
graduate students
Anger Anger/jealousy 6.28 7.76 1.99 p , .04
Henning et al.
(2005)
DV offenders Retaliation They started
something
57.1% 65.4%
Jackson et al.
(2000)
New Zealand high
school students
Anger Anger 41.7% 21.1%
Jackson et al.
(2000)
New Zealand high
school students
Retaliation Retaliation 21.1% 16.7%
Kernsmith (2005) DV perpetrators Retaliation
and anger
Factor: Striking
back for abuse
(disciplining
partner, to get
back at partner
for hitting, to
show anger)
1.11 1.50 p 5 .04
Makepeace (1986) College students Retaliation Retaliation 16.5% 18.9% ns
Makepeace (1986) College students Anger Uncontrollable
anger
28.3% 24.2% ns
O’Leary & Slep
(2006)
Couples with
children
Retaliation Because of partner
physical—mild
30.1% 11.0% z 5 2.35 p 5 .02
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 453
TABLE 6. Gender Differences in the Expression of Anger or Retaliation as a Motivation for Perpetrating Intimate
Partner Violence
Measure Sample
Anger or
Retaliation Item
Male Mean
or %
Female Mean
or % Statistic p Value
Barnett et al.
(1997)
Male batterers;
females in a shelter
for battered women
Retaliation To teach a lesson 1.58 1.39 2.50 ns
Carrado et al.
(1996)
Men and women in
British heterosexual
relationships
Retaliation Partner said
something or
threatened
53.0% 52.0%
Carrado et al.
(1996)
Men and women in
British heterosexual
relationships
Retaliation Partner did some
physical action
27.0% 21.0%
Cascardi &
Vivian (1995)
Married couples:
mild aggression
Anger Anger only 34.0% 40.0%
Cascardi &
Vivian (1995)
Married couples:
severe aggression
Anger Anger only 29.0% 52.0%
Cascardi &
Vivian (1995)
Married couples:
mild aggression
Provocation Provocation 7.0% 5.0%
Cascardi &
Vivian (1995)
Married couples:
severe aggression
Provocation Provocation 7.0% 12.0%
Follingstad et al.
(1991)
College students Anger To show anger 37.5% 57.6% 5.54 p , .05
Follingstad et al.
(1991)
College students Retaliation In retaliation for
emotional hurt
25.0% 55.9% 13.11 p , .0001
Follingstad et al.
(1991)
College students Retaliation In retaliation for
being hit
29.2% 13.6% 5.61 p , .05
Hamberger, et al.
(1994)
DV perpetrators Anger Express anger .92 .93
Hamberger, et al.
(1994)
DV perpetrators Retaliation/
punishment
To get him back/
punishment
.88 .85
Harned (2001) Undergraduate and
graduate students
Anger Anger/jealousy 6.28 7.76 1.99 p , .04
Henning et al.
(2005)
DV offenders Retaliation They started
something
57.1% 65.4%
Jackson et al.
(2000)
New Zealand high
school students
Anger Anger 41.7% 21.1%
Jackson et al.
(2000)
New Zealand high
school students
Retaliation Retaliation 21.1% 16.7%
Kernsmith (2005) DV perpetrators Retaliation
and anger
Factor: Striking
back for abuse
(disciplining
partner, to get
back at partner
for hitting, to
show anger)
1.11 1.50 p 5 .04
Makepeace (1986) College students Retaliation Retaliation 16.5% 18.9% ns
Makepeace (1986) College students Anger Uncontrollable
anger
28.3% 24.2% ns
O’Leary & Slep
(2006)
Couples with
children
Retaliation Because of partner
physical—mild
30.1% 11.0% z 5 2.35 p 5 .02
(continued)
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
454 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
TABLE 6. (continued)
Measure Sample
Anger or
Retaliation Item
Male Mean
or %
Female Mean
or % Statistic p Value
O’Leary & Slep
(2006)
Couples with
children
Retaliation Because of partner
physical—severe
42.4% 21.1% ns
O’Leary & Slep
(2006)
Unhappy couples
with children
Retaliation Because of partner
physical—mild
36.6% 10.5%
O’Leary & Slep
(2006)
Unhappy couples
with children
Retaliation Because of partner
physical—severe
41.7% 41.8%
Ross (2011) DV perpetrators Emotional
dysregulation
To show anger, to
show feelings
21.28 28.67 t 5 1.26 ns
Ross (2011) DV perpetrators Retaliation Because partner
provoked to get
back at partner
22.06 33.36 t 5 1.80 ns
Shorey et al.
(2010)
College students Anger Anger 17.85 12.82 d 5 .24
Shorey et al.
(2010)
College students Anger and
retaliation
Provoked/ pushed
over the edge
11.42 11.95 d 5 .02
Shorey et al.
(2010)
College students Retaliation Get back for
emotional hurt
10.00 16.73 d 5 .24
Shorey et al.
(2010)
College students Retaliation Get back for
being hit first
5.71 6.95 d 5 .07
Shorey et al.
(2010)
College students Retaliation To hurt partner’s
feelings
8.57 3.91 d 5 .29
Note. DV 5 domestic violence.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 455
TABLE 7. Gender Differences in the Expression of Jealousy as a Motivation for Intimate Partner Violence
Study Sample Type Items
Male
Mean or %
Female
Mean or % Statistic p Value
Cascardi & Vivian (1994) Married couples:
mild aggression
Jealousy 7.0% 0%
Cascardi & Vivian (1994) Married couples:
severe aggression
Jealousy 0% 0%
Follingstad et al. (1991) College students Jealousy 41.7% 8.5% x2 5 29.62 p , .001
Harned (2001) Graduate and under-
graduate students
Jealousy/anger 6.28 7.76 t 5 1.99 p , .05
Jackson et al. (2000) New Zealand high
school students
Jealousy 20.8% 15.8%
Kernsmith (2005) DV perpetrators Factor: Disciplining
partner (felt jealous)
.78 1.03 ns
Ross (2011) DV perpetrators Infidelity 14.16 28.83 t 5 2.04 p , .05
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Jealousy 17.14 8.04 d 5 .34
Shorey et al. (2010) College students Partner cheated 2.85 5.43 d 5 .19
Note. DV 5 domestic violence.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
456 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
data regarding potential gender differences in this motivation (i.e., Barnett et al.,
1997; Carrado et al., 1996; Cascardi & Vivian, 1995; Hamberger et al., 1994; Henning
et al., 2005; Jackson et al., 2000). Of the remaining eight studies, three reported
nonsignificant gender differences (Barnett et al., 1997; Makepeace, 1986; Ross, 2011),
and two reported that women endorsed this motivation at higher levels than did
men—anger/jealousy (Harned, 2001) and anger and retaliation (Kernsmith, 2005).
The remaining three studies reported mixed findings as follows: two findings of
women greater than men, one finding of men greater than women (Follingstad et al.,
1991); women greater than men, men greater than women, and nonsignificant gender
differences (Shorey et al., 2010); and one finding that men were significantly more
likely to be motivated by retaliation than women, the other findings had no statistics
reported (O’Leary & Slep, 2006).
Potential gender differences in self-reporting jealousy as a motivation for perpetrat-
ing IPV are presented in Table 7. Seven studies contained gender-differentiated data
related to the jealousy motive. Two of these studies did not subject their data to statis-
tical analyses (Cascardi & Vivian, 1995; Jackson et al., 2000), leaving five studies with
statistical data about gender differences. One of these studies found that jealousy was
more commonly cited as a motivation for men’s versus women’s violence (Follingstad
et al., 1991). Ross (2011) indicated that women were more motivated to perpetrate vio-
lence as a result of infidelity than were men. A second study that measured jealousy
and anger together also found that women reported greater amounts of this motiva-
tion than did men (Harned, 2001). However, a study of domestic violence perpetrators
failed to find significant gender differences (Kernsmith, 2005). The remaining study,
which relied on a university/school sample, reported that men were significantly more
likely to report jealousy as a motivation for their perpetration; however, women were
more likely to state that their partner cheating was a motivation for their violence;
consequently, this study had mixed findings (Shorey et al., 2010).
Finally, as predicted in Hypothesis 7, considerable heterogeneity among studies
was expected. As shown in the tables constructed for this manuscript and as exempli-
fied in the online table that is associated with this article, the samples used for these
studies varied considerably and the measures used to assess motivations appear to
be in their infancy. Various informants were also used as determinants of the perpe-
trator’s motivations.
DISCUSSION
This project was designed to review the existing empirical studies focused on un-
covering men and women’s motivations for perpetrating IPV. Although the original
search yielded a reasonable pool of studies, substantially fewer (n 5 74) studies met
the specified inclusion criteria for this review. More than a third of the originally
identified studies were excluded from this review because they lacked empirical or
codeable data. Moreover, even among the included studies, several authors reported
findings that they did not subject to statistical analysis. There continues to be a need
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 457
for researchers to collect quantifiable and analyzable data that can shed light on the
motives that underlie both men and women’s perpetration of IPV.
Within the studies that were included in this review, it is readily apparent that
various strategies were used to determine perpetration motives. In addition, many
types of motive measures were employed (e.g., asking directly for reasons, using
self-report measures of constructs assumed to be motivational in nature to con-
duct correlational analyses). Measurement development in this field has only just
begun. It is particularly important that some of the main motives being measured
are operationally defined more clearly because many might interpret the terms dif-
ferently (e.g., self-defense, control, retaliation; Shorey et al., 2010). It is encouraging,
however, that several instruments to measure motivations have been developed re-
cently. One of the most promising is the reasons for violence (RFV) scale developed by
Stuart et al. (2006). Greater use of this scale is likely to facilitate comparisons across
study samples.
The existing heterogeneity in methodology, measurement, and construct develop-
ment may also reflect the inherent challenge of determining a person’s motivation
for committing violence. Motivations are internal experiences that may be difficult
for even the perpetrator to discern. For example, when something like anger is self-
reported as a motive for IPV, what might underlie that anger (hurt, jealousy, discom-
fort from lack of control, inability to communicate one’s needs)? This specific difficulty
is reflected in the studies included in this review as various researchers collapsed
anger with retaliation (Kernsmith, 2005), jealousy (Harned, 2001), or other emotional
dysregulation problems. It is also possible to argue that anger is not a motive for
violence; it is an emotional state that is the context in which violence often occurs.
Differentiating motives, reasons, functions, justifications, and contexts is a challenge
that faces researchers in this area.
Still other studies included in this review had difficulty distinguishing between
violence committed in self-defense and violence committed as retaliation for preex-
isting abuse of an emotional, physical, or sexual nature (Kernsmith, 2005); some au-
thors have worked hard to correct this concern (Shorey et al., 2010); these authors
created a motivations for self-defensive aggression scale. Moreover, very few of the
currently published studies separated proximal from distal motives and fewer, if any,
relied on multifactorial theories that integrate motives across time or understood
changes in motives for perpetrating violence as a function of individual or relation-
ship development. Finally, even when a perpetrator is able to accurately introspect
about and subsequently identify their relevant motives, social desirability concerns
may preclude admission of these motives on a self-report measure or via face-to-face
interview. Unfortunately, social desirability measures are not routinely included as
part of the assessment strategy used in this field.
Individually, particular motives may be more acceptable to report than others;
however, the acceptability of reporting specific motives may also vary by gender. For
example, it might be particularly difficult for highly masculine males to admit to
perpetrating violence in self-defense because this admission implies vulnerability.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
458 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
Conversely, it may be more culturally sanctioned for women to admit to perpetrating
violence as a result of jealousy related to their partner’s infidelity than to admit to
committing violence as a power and control strategy. A better understanding of gen-
der socialization processes related to admission of motive would be helpful.
It is also readily apparent that the nature and number of motives that are offered
to the reporter influences the type of results that are obtained. Using open-ended
questions or administering measures that offer various motives engenders a greater
diversity of motivational responses than does specifying a limited number of motives.
However, in 25% of the located studies, only one or two motives were measured. The
remainder of the included study samples assessed three or more of the main motives
postulated in the literature; although various combinations of motives were assessed
across these papers. The irregularity with which all motives were included as pos-
sibilities greatly hindered direct comparisons across the literature.
It is also worth noting that some unexpected motives emerged using more open-
ended or inclusive measurement strategies. For example, in a number of studies, peo-
ple indicated that violence perpetration may be sexually arousing (11% of included
study samples) or violence may be motivated by a desire to play with or tease one’s
partner. Violence perpetration is also understood as an ancillary consequence of alco-
hol or drug abuse (this was generated as a possible motive in 22% of included study
samples). Perpetration is also seen as a consequence of enduring impacts related
to childhood trauma or as a result of long-standing personality issues. Although it
can be argued as to whether these factors constitute actual motives for perpetrating
violence, it would seem prudent to incorporate these concepts into existing measure-
ment devices to fully understand the function of IPV. Public perceptions of these fac-
tors as potential motivations for perpetrations may also need to be directly addressed
in violence prevention and intervention programs.
It is also possible that some motives may be more acceptable to report in particular
settings. For example, individuals facing criminal charges may be more likely to in-
voke self-defense as a perpetration motive than individuals gathered in a university
study, regardless of their gender or their experiences with IPV. This is important to
consider because 36% (n 5 27) of the study samples in this review were drawn from
university/school settings and 34% (n 5 25) were drawn from legal, criminal justice
settings. Only 3% of the papers (n 5 2) included in this review obtained data from a
large population-based sample. Overall, as a consequence of experiencing pressures
that may differ as a function of individual differences, gender roles, and/or setting,
the conclusions drawn about men’s and women’s motives for perpetrating IPV must
be viewed with great caution. Conducting additional population-based studies of the
perceived motivations for both adolescent and adult IPV in dating, cohabitating, and
married relationships would be a useful addition to the field.
Perhaps as a result of many of the earlier challenges, some researchers have cho-
sen to avoid the problems inherent in self-reporting motives for perpetrating IPV. One
of the main alternative strategies has been to use other informants such as spouses
or mothers (e.g., Sarantakos, 2004). Although this strategy has intuitive appeal, the
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 459
validity with which other people can accurately perceive and report on someone else’s
motivations is also unclear. The relationship between the reporter and the perpetra-
tor also needs to be clearly specified and considered. The victims of IPV may have an
important and yet unique understanding of the motives of their perpetrator; however,
this perspective is likely to differ from that of a mother, a therapist, or the actual
perpetrator. As a result, a full understanding of this literature needs to consider what
motivations were measured, how they were measured, and who was inferring the re-
ported motivation. This additional complexity makes drawing firm conclusions about
this literature even more complicated.
However, in spite of the challenges embedded within this field, several important
findings can be gleaned from this review. First, there does seem to be consensus
about the main motivations to consider as findings from most studies fit into the
motive coding scheme developed by the current authors. Sixty-one percent of the
samples included in this review assessed for motives of self-defense; 76% assessed
for power/control motives. This is not surprising because these two motives are the
cornerstone of the main gender-sensitive theories regarding the perpetration of IPV
by women versus men; they are also consistent with the Duluth model of interven-
tion for domestic violence (Pence & Paymar, 1993). Other common motives assessed
across these studies were anger/expression of negative emotion (63%) and using
violence to retaliate (60%). Common measurement of these motives is consistent
with the other set of widely used interventions for perpetrators of IPV (e.g., anger
control interventions; Rosenbaum & Leisring, 2001). It is worth noting that 47% of
the studies measured communication difficulties as a motive for perpetrating IPV;
similarly, 49% measured jealousy as a motivational precursor. These motives best
fit with models that demonstrate that relationship dissatisfaction is an important
risk factor for IPV and it is a risk factor that may be especially helpful when ex-
plaining the antecedents to what has become known as common couple violence
(Langhinrichsen-Rohling, 2010).
Second, studies that considered the most frequent motivations for perpetration re-
ported by men and women often generated similar motives. For example, Kernsmith
(2005) reported that the most common reason that both men and women chose to
use IPV was to get back at a partner for emotionally hurting them. Kernsmith also
indicated that self-defense, anger, and stopping a partner from doing something were
common motives for both men and women. Leisring (2011) used a revised version
of the motivations and effects questionnaire (MEQ; Follingstad et al., 1991). She re-
ported that college womens’ most common motives for perpetration of minor physi-
cal violence were in retaliation for emotional hurt, anger, and because of stress or
jealousy. Similarly, Shorey et al. (2010) concluded that, for both men and women, the
most common motives for perpetrating violence are to retaliate for emotional hurt, to
express anger, to express feelings that they could not put into words or communicate,
and to get their partner’s attention. Given the typicality with which these motives
were generated for perpetrators, they should be routinely measured, better under-
stood, and incorporated into prevention and intervention efforts.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
460 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
Finally, one of the main purposes of this review was to address the question of
whether or not there are gender differences in motivations for perpetrating IPV. This
seemed possible given that 46 of the 75 study samples (61%) contained data from both
men and women. Contrary to expectation, relatively few papers contained data from
only one gender (n 5 24, women only; n 5 6, men only). It was unexpected that most
single gender papers focused on explaining women’s perpetration of violence. Very
few papers included only men’s reports, perhaps suggesting that men’s self-reports of
their motivations were considered more suspect. Alternatively, some researchers in
this area may have thought that men’s motives for perpetrating violence were self-
evident and thus not as worthy of extensive study.
Across this review, there were 18 study samples that provided a direct compari-
son of men and women’s motives for perpetrating IPV. This number excludes studies
that reported correlations between a potential motivational factor and violence per-
petration for men and women although these papers are described in the “Results”
section of this review (n 5 8). The study samples that were retained for the gender
comparisons vary in the degree to which each of the motives of focus in this review
were assessed, thus, the ns vary across each motive considered in Tables 4, 5, 6, and
7. Some of the gender comparisons seem more direct than others. For example, when
the men and women are recruited in the same way from the same location, they
are likely to be similar. In contrast, comparing male domestic violence (DV) perpe-
trators to women residing in a battered women’s shelter is likely to be problematic
(e.g., Barnett et al., 1997). Likewise, it may be that women who are mandated to DV
perpetrator programs differ in some substantial ways as compared to men who are
mandated to DV perpetrator programs. Therefore, it is important to note who the
men and the women are in the studies that compare men’s and women’s motivations
for perpetration.
In spite of all of these limitations, it is worth noting that the hypothesis that men
would report perpetrating violence as a means of power and control more frequently
than women was only partially supported. Although three of six correlational studies
that included data related to this motive did report obtaining significant associations
between power/control motivations for men but not women; the other three indicated
that the findings for men and women did not differ. However, none of the obtained
correlation studies reported stronger associations between power and control motives
and perpetration for women as opposed to men.
Regarding the direct comparison studies, four of the 12 papers considering gender
differences in the power/control motive did not subject their findings to statistical
analyses. Of the remaining studies, three reported that there were no significant gen-
der differences in being motivated by power/control to perpetrate violence. One paper
found that women were more motivated to perpetrate violence as a result of power/
control than were men. The remaining three papers found, as expected on the basis
of gender-specific theory, that men endorsed more power/control motives for their vio-
lence than did women (Barnett et al., 1997; Ehrensaft et al., 1999; Shorey et al, 2010).
The final direct comparison study had mixed findings (Makepeace, 1986).
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 461
In a methodological advance, Shorey et al. (2010) reported effect sizes for their
obtained gender differences. Worth noting is that all the effect sizes for gender differ-
ences in men endorsing power/control motives more than women would be classified
as small in size. This suggests that these gender differences are weak. However, the
Shorey et al. (2010) study was also conducted with a college student sample. Thus,
stronger effects might be obtained with a different type of sample but using the same
measurement strategy. Thus, only two papers report any evidence that this motive is
stronger for women than men; however, there are few, if any, indications that there
is a strong effect such that power and control is much more of a motive for men’s as
opposed to women’s violence.
Furthermore, although most relationship behaviors, including violence, can be un-
derstood as a way to influence, manipulate, and/or control one another, some perpe-
trators are likely to use this strategy exclusively and without remorse. Regardless of
their gender, these perpetrators are likely to need different intervention strategies
than those whose violence is more related to the emotional ups and downs that can
be typical in less secure or unstable relationships (Johnson, 2005; Langhinrichsen-
Rohling, 2010).
The notion that the self-defense motive is more common for women than men also
received some empirical support. Of the 10 papers containing gender-specific sta-
tistical analyses, five indicated that women were significantly more likely to report
self-defense as a motive for perpetration than men. However, four papers did not
find statistically significant gender differences. Only one paper reported that men
were more likely to report this motive than women (Shorey et al., 2010). The degree
to which this finding holds for women in all samples and settings, is consistent over
time, and is relevant for women of different ages and ethnicities warrants additional
consideration. However, despite findings of gender differences in some of the studies,
it is important to point out that self-defense is endorsed in most samples by only a
minority of respondents, male and female. For nonperpetrator samples, the rates of
self-defense reported by men ranged from 0% to 21%, and for women, the range was
5%–35%. The highest rates of reported self-defense motives (50% for men, 65.4% for
women) came from samples of perpetrators, who may have reasons to overestimate
this motive. In addition, further work needs to be done to distinguish between self-
defense and retaliation for previously experienced violence because these motives
were difficult to separate in many of the papers included in this review.
None of the included papers in this review solely reported that anger/retaliation
was significantly more of a motive for men than women’s violence; instead, two pa-
pers indicated that anger was more likely to be a motive for women’s violence as com-
pared to men. This is important because within the United States’ culture, it may be
more acceptable for men to experience and express anger than women because of so-
cialization processes or adherence to traditional gender roles (Fischer & Evers, 2011;
Shields, 2002). Women who perpetrate violence may particularly need more produc-
tive ways to manage anger within their personal relationships ( Goldhor-Lerner, 1985).
However, making conclusions about gender differences related to the anger motive
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
462 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
is particularly uncertain because many authors measured this motive in conjunction
with something else (i.e., jealousy, retaliation) and a substantial subset of papers
in this area did not subject their findings to statistical analyses (5 of 13 studies).
A better and clearer understanding of how this motive influences the perpetration of
IPV is warranted.
Finally, contrary to expectation, jealousy/partner cheating seems to be a motive to
perpetrate violence for both men and women. This motive has been linked with an
insecure attachment style in romantic relationships (Buunk, 1997; Guerrero, 1998;
Hazan & Shaver, 1987; McCullars, 2012). Thus, it might be that less secure and stable
relationships are more susceptible to IPV because they are unsure of the commitment
and fidelity of their partner. However, given the extremely small number of papers
that are summarized here, these findings should be considered preliminary.
Taken as a whole, however, the findings gleaned from this review suggest that this
area of the IPV field is in its infancy. Researchers have employed different measure-
ment tools, focused on different motives (Langhinrichsen-Rohling, 2011), reported
findings in different ways, made use of different informants, differed in whether or
not they measured both men and women, and used different samples. Moreover, al-
though this review sought to be comprehensive in nature, it is possible that some
important papers in the field have been overlooked. Furthermore, this article has ex-
clusively focused on understanding the motives precipitating physical violence. Other
motives are likely to be more relevant for the perpetration of psychological or sexual
violence. The motives for perpetrators of various types of violence may differ from
those who use physical violence only. Likewise, those who perpetrate across vari-
ous relationships or on multiple occasions are likely to use violence differently than
individuals who have perpetrated a limited amount of violence in the context of one
problematic relationship. As a consequence, making meaningful conclusions based on
the articles included in this review was not fully possible.
Nonetheless, it seems clear that both men and women perpetrate violence in
response to various motives. Violence can occur as a consequence of not know-
ing how to appropriately manage anger, jealousy, and communication difficulties
( Langhinrichsen-Rohling, 2010). The context in which the emotion occurs may also
further motivate or inhibit violence (e.g., learning about a partner’s infidelity after
having a few drinks vs. having a partner wear revealing clothes to a work function
where one is trying to impress one’s boss). A better understanding of what motivates
individuals to stop using violence over time or to refrain from violence in a context in
which violence has often been deemed culturally acceptable would also be valuable.
In summary, much work remains to understand the motives underlying both men’s
and women’s perpetration of IPV. The types of motives that are measured need to be
theoretically based and consistent across samples to facilitate comparisons. Allow-
ing perpetrators to endorse various motives, as experienced across a range of con-
texts, is likely to lead to a deeper, proximal/distal, and multifactorial understanding
of what underlies IPV. Integrating qualitative and quantitative methodologies is nec-
essary. It may also be that there are individual, interpersonal, environmental, and
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 463
societal motives that facilitate violence perpetration. Measuring the full array of these
disparate motives in both men and women who are perpetrators will be essential.
Developing a clearer picture of what motivates violence, for whom, and under what
conditions will better inform violence prevention and intervention efforts. It may also
facilitate theory development in the field of IPV.
REFERENCES
References marked with an asterisk indicate studies summarized in the online-only
tables available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/1946-6560.3.4.e10
*Archer, J., & Graham-Kevan, N. (2003). Do beliefs about aggression predict physical
aggression to partners? Aggressive Behavior, 29, 41–54.
*Arias, I., & Johnson, P. (1989). Evaluations of physical aggression among intimate
dyads. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 4, 298–307.
*Babcock, J. C., Costa, D. M., Green, C. E., & Eckhardt, C. I. (2004). What situations
induce intimate partner violence? A reliability and validity study of the proximal
antecedents to violent episodes (PAVE) scale. Journal of Family Psychology, 18(3),
433–442.
*Babcock, J. C., Miller, S. A., & Siard, C. (2003). Toward a typology of abusive women:
Differences between partner-only and generally violent women in the use of violence.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, 27(2), 153–161.
*Barnett, O. W., Lee, C. Y., & Thelen, R. E. (1997). Gender differences in attributions of self-
defense and control in interpartner aggression. Violence Against Women, 3, 462–481.
*Bookwala, J., Frieze, I. H., Smith, C., & Ryan, K. (1992). Predictors of dating violence:
A multivariate analysis. Violence and Victims, 7, 297–311.
Buss, A. H. (1961). The psychology of aggression. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
Buunk, B. P. (1997). Personality, birth order and attachment styles as related to various
types of jealousy. Personality and Individual Differences, 23, 997–1006.
*Caldwell, J. E., Swan, S. C., Allen, C. T., Sullivan, T. P., & Snow, D. L. (2009). Why I hit
him: Women’s reasons for intimate partner violence. Aggression, Maltreatment, and
Trauma, 18(7), 672–697.
*Campbell, J. C., Oliver, C., & Bullock, L. (1993). Why battering during pregnancy? Clin-
ical Issues in Perinatal and Women’s Health Nursing, 4(3), 343–349.
*Carrado, M., George, M. J., Loxam, E., Jones, L., & Templar, D. (1996). Aggression in
British heterosexual relationships: A descriptive analysis. Aggressive Behavior, 22,
410–415.
*Cascardi, M., & Vivian, D. (1995). Context for specific episodes of marital violence: Gen-
der and severity of violence differences. Journal of Family Violence, 10, 265–293.
*Claes, J. A., & Rosenthal, D. M. (1990). Men who batter women: A study in power. Jour-
nal of Family Violence, 5(3), 215–224.
*Cornelius, T. L., Shorey, R. C., & Beebe, S. M. (2010). Self-reported communication vari-
ables and dating violence: Using Gottman’s marital communication conceptualiza-
tion. Journal of Family Violence, 25, 439–448.
*Cousins, A. J., & Gangestad, S. W. (2007). Perceived threats of women infidelity, male
proprietariness, and violence in college dating samples. Violence and Victims, 22,
651–668.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
464 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
*Dasgupta, S. D. (1999). Just like men? A critical view of violence by women. In: M. F.
Shepard & E. L. Pence (Eds.), Coordinating community responses to domestic vio-
lence: Lessons from Duluth and beyond (pp. 195–222). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
*DeKeseredy, W. S., Saunders, D. G., Schwartz, M. D., & Alvi, S. (1997). The meanings
and motives for women’s use of violence in Canadian college dating relationships:
Results from a national survey. Sociological Spectrum, 17(2), 199–222.
*Dobash, R. P., & Dobash, R. E. (2004). Women’s violence to men in intimate relation-
ships. British Journal of Criminology, 44, 324–349.
Dobash, R. P., Dobash, R. E., Wilson, M., & Daly, M. (1992). The myth of sexual symme-
try in marital violence. Social Problems, 39, 71–91.
*Downs, W. R., Rindels, B., & Atkinson, C. (2007). Women’s use of physical and nonphys-
ical self-defense strategies during incidents of partner violence. Violence Against
Women, 13, 28–45.
*Dutton, D. G., & Browning, J. J. (1988). Power struggles and intimacy anxieties as
causative factors of wife assault. In G. W. Russell (Ed.), Violence in intimate relation-
ships (pp. 163–175). Costa Mesa, CA: PMA.
*Dutton, D. G., & Strachan, C. E. (1987). Motivational needs for power and spouse-
specific assertiveness in assaultive and nonassultive men. Violence and Victims, 2(3)
145–156.
*Ehrensaft, M. K., Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Heyman, R. E., O’Leary, K. D., & Law-
rence, E. (1999). Feeling controlled in marriage: A phenomenon specific to physically
aggressive couples? Journal of Family Psychology, 13, 20–32.
*Felson, R. B., & Messner, S. F. (2000). The control motive in intimate partner violence.
School Psychology Quarterly, 63, 86–94.
*Felson, R. B., & Outlaw, M. C. (2007). The control motive and marital violence. Violence
and Victims, 22, 387–407.
*Fernandez-Fuertes, A. A., & Fuertes, A. (2010). Physical and psychological aggression
in dating relationships of Spanish adolescents: Motives and consequences. Child
Abuse & Neglect, 34, 183–191.
*Fiebert, M. S., & Gonzalez, D. M. (1997). College women who initiate assaults on their
male partners and the reasons offered for such behavior. Psychological Reports, 80(2),
583–590.
Fischer, A., & Evers, C. (2011). The social costs and benefits of anger as a function of
gender and relationship context. Sex Roles, 65(1/2), 23–34.
*Flemke, K., & Allen, K. R. (2008). Women’s experience of rage: A critical feminist analysis.
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 34, 58–74.
*Follingstad, D. R., Bradley, R. G., Helff, C. M., & Laughlin, J. E. (2002). A model for
predicting dating violence: Anxious attachment, angry temperament, and need for
relationship control. Violence and Victims, 17(1), 35–47.
*Follingstad, D. R., Wright, S., Lloyd, S., & Sebastian, J. A. (1991). Sex differences in
motivations and effects in dating violence. Family Relations, 40, 51–57.
*Forbes, G. B., Jobe, R. L., White, K. B., Bloesch, E., & Adams-Curtis, L. E. (2005). Per-
ceptions of dating violence following a sexual or nonsexual betrayal of trust: Effects
of gender, sexism, acceptance of rape myths, and vengeance motivation. Sex Roles,
52, 165–173.
*Foshee, V. A. (1996). Gender differences in adolescent dating abuse, prevalence, types,
and injuries. Health Education Research, 11, 275–286.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 465
*Foshee, V. A., Bauman, K. E., Linder, F., Rice, J., & Wilcher, R. (2007). Typologies of
adolescent dating violence: Identifying typologies of adolescent dating violence per-
petration. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(5), 498–519.
*Gagne, M. H., & Lavoie, F. (1993). Young people’s views on the causes of violence in
adolescents’ romantic relationships. Canada’s Mental Health, 41(3), 11–15.
Goldhor-Lerner, H. (1985). The dance of anger. New York, NY: Harper & Row.
*Graham-Kevan, N., & Archer, J. (2005). Investigating three explanations of women’s
relationship aggression. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29, 270–277.
*Grant, C. A. (1995). Women who kill: The impact of abuse. Issues in Mental Health
Nursing, 16, 315–326.
Guerrero, L. K. (1998). Attachment-style differences in the experience and expression of
romantic jealousy. Personal Relationships, 5, 273–291.
*Hamberger, L. K. (1997). Female offenders in domestic violence: A look at actions in
their context. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma, 1, 117–129.
*Hamberger, L. K., & Guse, C. E. (2002). Men’s and women’s use of intimate partner
violence in clinical samples. Violence Against Women, 8, 1301–1331.
*Hamberger, L. K., & Guse, C. (2005). Typology of reactions to intimate partner vio-
lence among men and women arrested for partner violence. Violence and Victims,
20, 303–317.
*Hamberger, L. K., Lohr, J. M., & Bonge, D. (1994). The intended function of domestic
violence is different for arrested male and female perpetrators. Family Violence and
Sexual Assault Bulletin, 10(3/4), 40–43.
*Hamberger, L. K., Lohr, J. M., Bonge D., & Tolin, D. F. (1997). An empirical classifica-
tion of motivations for domestic violence. Violence Against Women, 3(4), 401–423.
Hamberger, L. K., & Potente, T. (1994). Counseling heterosexual women arrested for domes-
tic violence: Implications for theory and practice. Violence and Victims, 9, 125–137.
*Hamel, J., Desmarais, S. L., & Nicholls, T. L. (2007). Perceptions of motives in inti-
mate partner violence: expressive versus coercive violence. Violence and Victims, 22,
563–576.
Hamel, J., Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., & Hines, D. (2012). More than a literature re-
view: The revolutionary Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project (PASK). Partner
Abuse, 3, 131–139.
*Harned, M. S. (2001). Abused women or abused men? An examination of the context
and outcomes of dating violence. Violence and Victims, 16, 269–285.
Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 511–524.
*Henning, K., Jones, A. R., & Holdford, R. (2005). “I didn’t do it, but if I did I had a good
reason”: Minimization, denial, and attributions of blame among male and female
domestic violence offenders. Journal of Family Violence, 20, 131–139.
*Hettrich, E. L., & O’Leary, K. D. (2007). Females’ reasons for their physical aggression
in dating relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 1131–1143.
Holtzworth-Munroe, A., & Stuart, G. L. (1994). Typologies of male batterers: Three sub-
types and the differences between them. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 476–497.
*Jackson, S. M., Cram, F., & Seymour, F. W. (2000). Violence and sexual coercion in high
school students’ dating relationships. Journal of Family Violence, 15, 23–36.
Johnson, M. P. (1995). Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of
violence against women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 283–294.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
466 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
Johnson, M. P. (2005). Apples and oranges in child custody disputes: Intimate terrorism
vs. situational couple violence. Journal of Child Custody, 2, 43–52.
*Kernsmith, P. (2005). Exerting power or striking back: A gendered comparison of moti-
vations for domestic violence perpetration. Violence and Victims, 20, 173–185.
Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. (2010). Controversies involving gender and intimate part-
ner violence in the United States. Sex Roles, 62, 179–193.
Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J. (2011, November). The context surrounding women’s per-
petration of intimate partner violence. In P. Leisring (Chair), Women and intimate
partner violence. Symposium conducted at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Associa-
tion for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Toronto, Canada.
*Lavoie, F., Robitaille, L., & Hebert, M. (2000). Teen dating relationships and aggres-
sion: An exploratory study. Violence Against Women, 6(6), 6–36.
Leisring, P. A. (2011, November). Motivation for perpetration of physical and emotional
partner violence among college women. Paper presented at the 45th Annual Meet-
ing of the Association for the Advancement of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies,
Toronto, Canada.
*Leisring, P. A. (in press). Physical and emotional abuse in romantic relationships: Mo-
tivation for perpetration among college women. Partner Abuse.
Malloy, K. A., McCloskey, K. A., Grigsby, N., & Gardner, D. (2003). Women’s use of violence
within intimate relationships. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma, 6,
37–59.
*Makepeace, J. M. (1986). Gender differences in courtship violence victimization. Fam-
ily Relations, 35, 383–388.
*Mason, A., & Blankenship, V. (1987). Power and affiliation motivation, stress, and abuse
in intimate relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 203–210.
McCullars, A. C. (2012). Family of origin, attachment, and jealousy in adjudicated ado-
lescent males (Unpublished master’s thesis). University of South Alabama, Mobile.
*Milardo, R. M. (1998). Gender asymmetry in common couple violence. Personal Rela-
tionships, 5, 423–438.
*Miller, S. L., & Meloy, M. L. (2006). Women’s use of force: Voices of women arrested for
domestic violence. Violence Against Women, 12, 89–115.
*Nabors, E. L., Dietz, T. L., & Jasinski, J. L. (2006). Domestic violence beliefs and percep-
tions among college students. Violence and Victims, 21, 779–795.
*O’Leary, K. D., Smith Slep, A. M., & O’Leary, S. G. (2007). Multivariate models of men’s
and women’s partner aggression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 75,
752–764.
*O’Leary, S. G., & Slep, A. M. (2006). Precipitants of partner aggression. Journal of Fam-
ily Psychology, 20, 344–347.
*Olson, L. N, & Lloyd, S. A. (2005). “It depends on what you mean by starting”: An explo-
ration of how women define initiation of aggression and their motives for behaving
aggressively. Sex Roles, 53(7/8), 603–617.
Pence, E., & Paymar, M. (1993). Education groups for men who batter: The Duluth model.
New York, NY: Springer Publishing.
*Perry, A. R., & Fromuth, M. E. (2005). Courtship violence using couple data: Character-
istics and perceptions. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20, 1078–1095.
*Prince, J. E., & Arias, I. (1994). The role of perceived control and the desirability of
control among abusive and nonabusive husbands. The American Journal of Family
Therapy, 22(2), 126–134.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
Motivations for IPV Perpetration 467
*Rosen, K. H., Stith, S. M., Few, A. L., Daly, K. L., & Tritt, D. R. (2005). A qualitative
investigation of Johnson’s typology. Violence and Victims, 20, 319–334.
Rosenbaum, A., & Leisring, P. A. (2001). Group intervention programs for batterers.
Journal Of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 5(2), 57–71.
*Ross, J. M. (2011). Personality and situational correlates of self-reported reasons for
intimate partner violence among women versus men referred for batterers’ interven-
tion. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 29, 711–727.
*Ross, J. M., & Babcock, J. C. (2009). Proactive and reactive violence among intimate
partner violent men diagnosed with antisocial and borderline personality disorder.
Journal of Family Violence, 24, 607–617.
*Sarantakos, S. (2004). Deconstructing self-defense in wife-to-husband violence. The
Journal of Men’s Studies, 12, 277–296.
*Saunders, D. G. (1986). When battered women use violence: Husband abuse or self-
defense? Violence and Victims, 1, 47–60.
Saunders, D. G. (2002). Are physical assaults by wives and girlfriends a major social
problem? A review of the literature. Violence Against Women, 8, 1424–1448.
*Seamans, C. L., Rubin, L. J., & Stabb, S. D. (2007). Women domestic violence offenders:
Lessons of violence and survival. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 8, 47–68.
Shields, S. A. (2002). Speaking from the heart: Gender and the social meaning of emo-
tion. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Shorey R. C., Brasfield H., Febres J., & Stuart G. L. (2011). The association between impul-
sivity, trait anger, and the perpetration of intimate partner and general violence among
women arrested for domestic violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26, 2681–2697.
Shorey, R. C., Cornelius, T. L., & Idema, C. (2011). Trait anger as a mediator of difficul-
ties with emotion regulation and female-perpetrated psychological aggression. Vio-
lence and Victims, 26(3), 271–282.
*Shorey, R. C., Meltzer, C., & Cornelius, T. L. (2010). Motivations for self-defensive ag-
gression in dating relationships. Violence and Victims, 25, 662–676.
*Simmons, C. A., Lehmann, P., & Cobb, N. (2008). A comparison of women versus men
charged with intimate partner violence: General risk factors, attitudes regarding
using violence, and readiness to change. Violence and Victims, 23(5), 571–585.
*Smith, E. (2008). African American men and intimate partner violence. Journal of Af-
rican American Studies, 12, 156–179.
Stets, J. E., & Hammons, S. A. (2002). Gender, control, and marital commitment. Jour-
nal of Family Issues, 23, 3–25.
*Stets, J. E., & Pirog-Good, M. A. (1990). Interpersonal control and courtship aggression.
Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 7, 371–394.
*Stuart, G. L., Moore, T. M., Gordon, K. C., Hellmuth, J. C., Ramsey, S. E., & Kahler, C. W.
(2006). Reasons for intimate partner violence perpetration among arrested women.
Violence Against Women, 12, 609–621.
Swan, S. C., Gambone, L. J., Caldwell, J. E., Sullivan, T. P., & Snow, D. L. (2008). A review
of research on women’s use of violence with male intimate partners. Violence and
Victims, 23, 301–314.
*Swan, S. C., & Snow, D. L. (2003). Behavioral and psychological differences among
abused women who use violence in intimate relationships. Violence Against Women,
9, 75–109.
*Swan S. C., & Sullivan, T. P. (2009). The resource utilization of women who use violence
in intimate relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(6), 940–958.
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
468 Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al.
Tanha, M., Beck, C. J. A., Figueredo, A., J., & Raghavan, C. (2010). Sex differences in
intimate partner violence and the use of coercive control as a motivational factor for
intimate partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 25, 1836–1854.
*Walley-Jean, J. C., & Swan, S. (2009). Motivations and justifications for partner ag-
gression in a sample of African American college women. Journal of Aggression, Mal-
treatment & Trauma, 18(7), 698–717.
*Ward, R., & Muldoon, J. (2007). Female tactics and strategies of intimate partner vio-
lence: A study of incident reports. Sociological Spectrum, 27, 337–364.
*Weizmann-Henelius, G., Viemero, V., & Eronen, M. (2003). The violent female perpe-
trator and her victim. Forensic Science International, 133, 197–203.
*Weston, R., Marshall, L. L., & Coker, A. L. (2007). Women’s motives for violent and non-
violent behaviors in conflicts. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 1043–1065.
Winstok, Z., & Eisikovits, Z. (2008). Motives and control in escalatory conflicts in inti-
mate relationships. Children and Youth Services Review, 30, 287–296.
*Yick, A. G., & Agbayani-Siewert, P. (2000). Dating violence among Chinese American
and White students: A sociocultural context. Dating Violence and Sexual Assault, 8,
101–129.
Acknowledgments. The authors wish to express appreciation to Marlinda Pruden and
Candice Selwyn. Both of these individuals contributed substantially to the data collec-
tion process.
Correspondence regarding this article should be directed to Jennifer Langhinrich-
sen-Rohling, PhD, Life Sciences Building Room 320, University of South Alabama,
Mobile, AL 36688-0002. E-mail: jlr@usouthal.edu
Copyright © Springer Publishing Company, LLC
... (Ribeaud, 2015). These findings are consistent with the broader criminological literature on perpetrator-victim overlap, and with the bidirectional patterns found for intimate partner violence in adult couples (Berg & Mulford, 2020;Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al., 2012). ...
... It is also important to better understand whether motives for physical dating violence are gender-specific. In a systematic review, Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al. (2012) reviewed the evidence for violence motives for adult male and female perpetrators of IPV. They found few gender-specific motives. ...
Article
Full-text available
Dating violence is a serious manifestation of harmful behaviour during adolescence. During the past decades, considerable research has shed light on patterns, causes, and consequences of dating violence. One of the most notable findings emerging from widely used survey instruments is that female adolescents report perpetrating physical dating violence more or equally frequently as male adolescents. Similarly, male youth appear to equally frequently report that they have been victims of physical dating violence as female adolescents. This commentary reviews issues emerging from the debate on gender symmetry in dating violence and proposes directions for future research. It suggests that future research needs to consider three interrelated issues to advance the field, namely: to improve the understanding of differences in harm, advance the knowledge of gender differences in the short‐term dynamics involved in conflict and aggression, and strengthen the evidence base on shared and gender‐specific developmental aetiologies of dating violence.
... Sometimes, even perpetrators are not fully aware of their motives. As confirmed by the authors in the comprehensive literature review of 75 studies, 61% of the sample of both women and men reported self-defence as the primary motive, 49% of them said jealousy, while 76% of others outlined the motive of power and control (Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al., 2012). The authors summarised all available studies that reported empirical data related to men's and women's motivations for IPV. ...
Article
Full-text available
Although numerous studies in the past have shown that men are more often seen as perpetrators of domestic and sexual abuse, clinicians and researchers have recently begun to critically consider the problem of intimate and sexual violence committed by women towards men. Despite the controversial debate over whether women are violent towards their husbands and partners, many research papers have shown that there is a prevalence of such violence. In addition, many studies have highlighted gender differences in the commission of domestic violence in terms of the different reasons and contexts in which violence occurs. This paper aims to present the latest results of research on risk factors, typologies, and motives of women perpetrators of violence in relationships, as well as to improve our understanding of the etiology and complexity of such violence. The first part of the paper explains in detail the typology and prevalence of violence against men, as well as the psychological and other characteristics of women perpetrators. The second part deals mainly with the causes and motives of women's violent behaviour towards men. The last section is dedicated to the effects of treatment and possible improvements. The conclusion emphasizes the importance of this topic and gives some recommendations for resolving the above issues.
... More recent attention has shifted from individual risk and protective factors, to couple and community factors affecting IPV (Vanderende et al., 2012). Heise's revised version of the socio-ecological model (Heise, 2011) highlights the importance of relationship dynamics in understanding IPV, including decision-making among couples (Zegenhagen et al., 2019) and romantic jealousy or (suspicion of) infidelity (Capaldi et al., 2012;Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al., 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Efforts to prevent intimate partner violence (IPV) have been informed by emerging research on common triggers of IPV and the importance of engaging with couple dynamics. This paper reports on secondary data analysis from the qualitative evaluations of the SASA! intervention in Uganda, (conducted in 2012 involving 40 community members) and the Indashyikirwa intervention in Rwanda, (conducted between 2014 and 2018 involving 14 couples and 36 other stakeholders). It explores the under-researched linkages between romantic jealousy and IPV, and describes how these interventions mitigated it. A qualitative approach using interviews and focus groups with women and men was used. Overall, jealousy was common in both settings, and led to relationship challenges including breakdown of trust; quarrels about resources; conflict, controlling behaviours, and ultimately, physical and emotional IPV. Jealousy was seen to operate through different gendered pathways. Participants described women to question men about their whereabouts and intentions because of jealousy or the suspicion of infidelity, whereas participants described men to be jealous or suspicious of women socialising with, or attracting the attention of, other men and using violence in response. Through gender transformative strategies, SASA! and Indashyikirwa were described by participants to reduce the contribution of romantic jealousy to conflict and violence by encouraging improved relationship faithfulness and honesty; supporting reduced suspicion through improved relationship trust and communication; and identifying jealousy and suspicion of, or real infidelity, as direct triggers of IPV. While these programmes show promising results, gaps remain including a lack of standardised measures of the multidimensional concept of romantic jealousy. Recognition that programmes should be evaluated for their ability to reduce romantic jealousy when identified as a trigger for IPV in a specific context should also be emphasised. More research is also needed on the forms, gendered pathways, and consequences of romantic jealousy to inform context-specific programming.
... Couple communication is an essential component of intimate relationship functionality and is frequently integrated into healthy intimate relationship programs for IPV prevention and intervention. The close associations between couple communication and IPV are well established [32,33], wherein poor communication can lead to severe relationship conflicts and later escalate into IPV [34], and difficulty in couple communication is a leading motivation for perpetrators of IPV [35]. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, programs using strategies to build skills for healthy relationships, including or focused on couple communication skills (e.g. ...
Article
Full-text available
Backgrounds Diverse intervention efforts are implemented to address intimate partner violence (IPV) against women. Via a syndemics theory lens and emerging empirical evidence, mental health interventions demonstrate promise to partially ameliorate IPV. However, the mechanisms of change underlying many IPV interventions are not well understood. These gaps impede our efforts to strengthen or integrate effective components into the current mental health resources, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study aims to examine the impact of a maternal mental health intervention called Integrated Mothers and Babies Course & Early Childhood Development (iMBC/ECD) on IPV and whether social support and/or couple communication mediates the intervention effects among women in rural, Northern Ghana. Methods The current study is a secondary data analysis of a cluster randomized controlled trial. IPV was measured at baseline and 8 months post-intervention (~ 19 months post-baseline). At baseline, 84.8% of the women enrolled in the study ( n = 374) reported some type of IPV in the past 12 months. Logistic regression models and multiple mediation analyses were used to address the study aims. Results iMBC/ECD did not reduce IPV in the intervention group compared to the control group. Social support and couple communication did not mediate the intervention effects on IPV as indicated by the indirect effects of the multiple mediation models. However, increase in social support reduced women’s odds of experiencing emotional violence by 7%, odds ratio (OR) = 0.93, p = 0.007; b = − 0.07, 95% confidence interval (CI) = (− 0.13, − 0.02), and improvement in couple communication demonstrated promise in reducing women’s odds of experiencing controlling behaviors by 7%, OR = 0.93, p = 0.07; b = − 0.07, CI = (− 0.14, 0.005), though the improvements were not due to the intervention. Conclusion This maternal mental health intervention did not reduce IPV; however, the findings extend our knowledge about the impact of such interventions on IPV and the potential mechanisms of change via social support and couple communication. Future research evaluating the impact of mental health interventions on IPV and mechanisms of change is essential for the development of effective interventions. Future programs addressing IPV in LMICs should consider risk factors beyond relationship level (e.g. poverty and gender inequity). Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov # NCT03665246 , Registered on August 20th, 2018.
... Magdol et al. (1998), who reported findings from a birth cohort study, showed that women who were victimized by their partners were 13 times more likely to be perpetrators of violence in intimate relationships than nonvictimized women. Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al. (2012) conducted a review of 18 studies comparing men and women's reported motivation for IPV (i.e., power/control, self-defense, anger, jealousy, poor communication, and retaliation) and very few gender-specific motives for perpetration emerged; however, the studies methodologies varied extensively. ...
... Some studies posit that women can also express hostility and aggression through psychological efforts to demean and intimidate their partners as an effective method of control without violence (Swan & Snow, 2003). As part of a large literature review on IPV, Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al. (2012) conducted a review of 18 studies comparing men and women's reported motivation for IPV (i.e., power/control, self-defense, anger, intimidation, jealousy, poor communication, and retaliation) and very few gender-specific motives for perpetration of violence or intimidation emerged; however, the studies methodologies varied extensively suggesting the need for continued studies on IPV motivation and gender differences. ...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Limited research has focused on the trajectories of victimization to violence in women’s lives. Furthermore, literature assessing women’s use of violence has primarily focused on adult risk factors (e.g., substance use and criminal histories). Drawing from the pathway’s framework, we explored the impact of multiple forms of childhood victimization and subsequent harmful behaviors on adult-perpetrated violence among women convicted of violent or serious crimes. Methods This secondary data analysis included a sample of 1118 incarcerated women from two prisons. Based on prior literature outlining the lifelong negative impact of childhood victimization, we hypothesized that cumulatively, occurrence of abuses, arrest as a minor, number of lifetime arrests, and poly-substance use prior to incarceration, would increase the likelihood of perpetration of multiple forms of violence. GEE regression models were used to examine the relationship between the predictors and adult perpetration of intimidation and physical violence. Results Experiences with childhood victimization, early (under age 18) and ongoing criminal justice involvement, and substance use significantly increased the likelihood of adult perpetration of violence, regardless of the type of violence measured (intimidation or physical violence). Conclusion Given the documented high prevalence of childhood trauma and abuse among justice-involved women, findings from this study can be used to promote the implementation of trauma-specific treatment for at-risk juvenile girls, whose trajectories of violence might be mitigated.
Article
Background The question of working psychotherapeutically with high conflict and domestically abusive couples is one that continues to raise anxieties within the field. Aims Embracing a relational approach offers an alternative perspective to the more familiar individual-based treatment interventions. Materials and Methods Drawing on my therapy with a married couple who presented in a crisis following an abusive incident, I will outline how I approached the assessment, my understanding of their presenting problem and the basis on which the therapy was conducted. Results During the eight months of treatment, the couple had frequent breakdowns in communication, and I found myself drawing on a range of mentalization-based techniques that supported and maintained the working alliance. Discussion Helping the couple break the damaging effects of the abuse, which was seriously affecting them and impacting their children, provides a particular focus for this submission. Conclusion The rationale for undertaking couple therapy in situations of domestic violence and abuse was examined. The dynamic elements of theory underpinning practice, together with mentalization-based techniques designed to tackle disregulated states of mind that may lead to violent and abusive exchanges, were considered through the presentation of a case example.
Article
Full-text available
The paper is divided into two parts to facilitate a clearer understanding of different aspects of the violent death of previously abused female victims. The first part offers a brief overview of the most recent phenomenological conclusions on violence ending in death and explains the need to focus on gender differences in homicide victimisation. A bulk of research has confirmed that most women are more vulnerable to homicide within home and that the lethal outcome is an escalation of previously experienced abuse. In order to contribute to a more in-depth study of female intimate homicides, the authors focus on a variety of definitions and draw a clear line between the term femicide and the aggravated murder of a closely related person. In the second part of the paper, the authors have analysed the case-law of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia in which the perpetrators were found guilty of the criminal offence of aggravated murder of a closely related person (Art. 111, Para. 3 of the Criminal Code) in the period from 1 January 2013 to 1 June 2020. The research primarily focused on the circumstance of previous abuse, especially on the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator, the duration and frequency of abuse, and the reaction of the environment and competent authorities in cases where they knew about the abuse or when it was reported.
Article
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is recognized as a worldwide health issue that calls for urgent interventions to prevent the significant physical and mental harm it poses to the individuals involved and to reduce its wider deleterious impacts on society. Despite 40 years of research in the field, incidence rates of IPV have not significantly declined and treatment services for perpetrators of IPV are scarce. Empirical research has been hindered by ideological disputes, and the most commonly used treatment approaches—the feminist-oriented Duluth approach and cognitive-behavioral treatments—lack evidence for their efficacy. This introduction to this issue of In Session reviews these ideological controversies and the current state of empirical evidence for the treatment of perpetrators of IPV; and summarizes the five papers, commissioned from different countries in Europe, North America, and Africa, comprising this issue, each of which presents a novel therapeutic intervention for this heterogeneous population
Article
Full-text available
Violence is a complex and multifaceted problem requiring a holistic and individualized 7 response. The Good Lives Model (GLM) suggests violence occurs when an individual experiences 8 internal and external obstacles in the pursuit of universal human needs (termed primary goods). 9 With a twin focus, GLM-consistent interventions aim to promote attainment of primary goods, 10 whilst simultaneously reducing risk of reoffending. This is achieved by improving an individuals' 11 internal (i.e., skills and abilities) and external capacities (i.e., opportunities, environments, and re-12 sources). This paper proposes that collaborations between different agencies (e.g., psychological 13 services, criminal justice systems, social services, education, community organizations and 14 healthcare) can support the attainment of primary goods through the provision of specialized skills 15 and resources. Recommendations for ensuring interagency collaborations are effective are outlined, 16 including embedding a project lead, regular interagency meetings and training, establishing infor-17 mation sharing procedures, and defining the role each agency plays in client care. 18
Article
Full-text available
Studies of adults report inconsistent findings as to whether males or females are more likely to use violent behaviors toward their partner. Although partner violence frequently begins during adolescence, few dating violence studies involve adolescents and even fewer report findings by gender. This study examines gender differences in adolescent dating violence. Data are from self-administered questionnaires completed by 81% of the adolescents in the eighth and ninth grades in a primarily rural school district in North Carolina. The significant findings are that (1) females perpetrate more mild, moderate and severe violence than males towards partners even when controlling for violence perpetrated in self-defense; (2) females perpetrate more violence than males out of self-defense; (3) males perpetrate more sexual dating violence than females; (4) males and females sustain equal amounts of mild, moderate and severe dating violence; (5) females sustain more sexual dating violence than males; (6) females sustain more psychological abuse than males from their partners; and (7) females receive more injuries than males from dating violence. These findings suggest that adolescent dating violence prevention programs are warranted and that unlike most dating violence prevention programs, both males and females should be exposed to activities related to victimization and perpetration.
Article
Full-text available
Violence is often used to control the behavior of others. Some scholars hypothesize that this motive is particularly common when men attack their female partners. To measure the control motive we determine whether the offender in assaults threatened the victim before the attack; threats typically are used to control others' behavior. We predict a statistical interaction involving offender's gender, victim's gender, and offender-victim relationship. Analyses based on data from the revised National Crime Victimization Survey reveal such an interaction, suggesting that assaults by husbands against their wives are more likely than other assaults to be motivated by efforts at control.
Article
This study examined behavioral and emotional responses to partner-initiated violence reported by men and women court-ordered to domestic violence counseling. Respondents provided Likert-type ratings of behavioral and emotional responses to their partners' initiated violence. Cluster analysis to determine heterogeneity of emotional and behavioral responses resulted in a three-cluster solution. The profile for Cluster 1, predominantly male, showed no specific behavioral or emotional reaction pattern. Cluster 2 respondents, evenly split between males and females, but comprising a high proportion of all of the female participants, reported frequently doing what the partner wanted and attempting to escape. Emotional responses experienced by Cluster 2 respondents were anger, insult, and fear. Cluster 3, predominantly male, reported a frequent tendency to use force in response and escape when their partners initiated physical violence. Emotionally, Cluster 3 participants reported experiencing high levels of anger and insult, and relatively low levels of fear and low levels of amusement. Implications of these findings for development of genderbased intervention strategies will be discussed.
Article
This article explores the possibility that romantic love is an attachment process--a biosocial process by which affectional bonds are formed between adult lovers, just as affectional bonds are formed earlier in life between human infants and their parents. Key components of attachment theory, developed by Bowlby, Ainsworth, and others to explain the development of affectional bonds in infancy, were translated into terms appropriate to adult romantic love. The translation centered on the three major styles of attachment in infancy--secure, avoidant, and anxious/ambivalent--and on the notion that continuity of relationship style is due in part to mental models (Bowlby's "inner working models") of self and social life. These models, and hence a person's attachment style, are seen as determined in part by childhood relationships with parents. Two questionnaire studies indicated that relative prevalence of the three attachment styles is roughly the same in adulthood as in infancy, the three kinds of adults differ predictably in the way they experience romantic love, and attachment style is related in theoretically meaningful ways to mental models of self and social relationships and to relationship experiences with parents. Implications for theories of romantic love are discussed, as are measurement problems and other issues related to future tests of the attachment perspective.
Article
Using data from a seven college sample of students, gender differences in three dimensions of courtship violence victimization (acts, meanings, and events) are explored. Females were principle victims by both male and female report. Rates of commission of acts and initiation of violence were similar across gender, although females sustained more higher level violence. Male reports of motives were largely culpability reducing. Females reported many more sexual assaults, and physical and emotional injury than males. Males did not perceive families as sustaining greater harm. Implications of the results for practitioners, particularly for understanding "batterer denial" are discussed.
Article
This article argues that there are two distinct forms of couple violence taking place within families in the United States and other Western countries. A review of evidence from large-sample survey research and from qualitative and quantitative data gathered from women's shelters suggests that some families suffer from occasional outbursts of violence from either husbands or wives (common couple violence), while other families are terrorized by systematic male violence (patriarchal terrorism). It is argued that the distinction between common couple violence and patriarchal terrorism is important because it has implications for the implementation of public policy, the development of educational programs and intervention strategies, and the development of theories of interpersonal violence.
Article
It is well accepted that large numbers of men batter women. Although some data also reveal that women report assaulting men in large numbers, interpretation of the latter data has been fraught with controversy. The present article reports on a sample of women arrested for domestic violence. When questions were asked about frequency of violence initiation, which partner began the overall pattern of violence in the relationship, and the women's reasons for using violence, it was found that about two-thirds of the women were battered and using violence to protect themselves or to retaliate for previous violence against them. Implications of these findings for conceptualizing women's violence as well as for training law enforcement personnel are discussed.