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Gender Differences in Risk Markers for Perpetration of Physical Partner Violence: Results from a Meta-Analytic Review

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There is a lack of consensus on whether the use of intimate partner violence (IPV) is distinctly different between men and women, or if men and women share similar risk markers for perpetrating IPV. In this study, we compared 60 different risk markers for IPV perpetration for men and women using a meta-analysis. We found three out of 60 risk markers significantly differed between men and women. Our results suggest that there are more similarities between men and women than there are differences in risk markers for IPV perpetration.
Gender Differences in Risk Markers for Perpetration of Physical
Partner Violence: Results from a Meta-Analytic Review
Chelsea Spencer
&Bryan Cafferky
&Sandra M. Stith
Published online: 2 September 2016
#Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016
Abstract There is a lack of consensus on whether the use of
intimate partner violence (IPV) is distinctly different between
men and women, or if men and women share similar risk
markers for perpetrating IPV. In this study, we compared 60
different risk markers for IPV perpetration for men and women
significantly differed between men and women. Our results sug-
gest that there are more similarities between men and women
than there are differences in risk markers for IPV perpetration.
Keywords Intimate partner violence perpetration .IPV .
Gender .Meta-analysis
Some researchers examining factors related to why individ-
uals perpetrate violence against their intimate partners have
taken a gendered approach, looking at mens and womens
use of intimate partner violence (IPV) as distinctly different
(Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al. 2012). However, other re-
searchers have viewed mens and womens perpetration of
IPVas stemming from a variety of risk markers that are similar
for men and women (Straus 2011). There is currently no clear
consensus in the literature about whether risk markers related
to mens and womens use of violence in intimate relation-
ships are distinctly different from one another, or if men and
women share the same risk markers for perpetrating IPV. This
paper presents an overview of findings from a meta-analytic
review to address this controversy.
A number of individual studies have addressed this contro-
versy. For example, Swan et al. (2008) non-systematic litera-
ture review highlighted research that supports the notion that
men are more likely than women to use violence as a means to
control their partners or exert dominance over their partners.
This perception of partner violence as a gendered phenome-
non looks at IPVas a result of the inequality within romantic
relationships which supports male dominance and fosters
male power and control (Yllo 2005). This perception suggests
that mens perpetration of IPV is a strategy to dominate and
control their partners. Researchers who focus on IPV as a
gendered phenomenon would expect that risk markers for
male versus female IPV would differ and that, for example,
control would be a stronger risk marker for mensperpetration
of IPV than for womensperpetration.
However, other researchers have found that women are just
as likely as are men to use violence as a means to control or
dominate their partners (Straus 2005). For example, Graham-
Kevan and Archers(2005) cross-sectional study found that
controlling behaviors was a significant predictor of women
perpetrating violence against their intimate partners. These
findings suggest that control would be an equally strong risk
marker for women using violence in intimate relationships as
it would be for men.
An alternative perspective is that mensperpetrationofIPV
is less about their desire for domination and control, and more
about their restricted range of strategies for conflict resolution
(Straus 2005). This suggests that men perpetrate IPV because
they have maladaptively chosen to use violence as a result of
their inability to resolve conflict in their intimate relationships.
*Chelsea Spencer
Kansas State University, 2801 Goodrich Circle,
Manhattan, KS 66502, USA
Loma Linda University, Griggs Hall, Office 203, 11065 Campus
Street, Loma Linda, CA 92350, USA
Kansas State University, 101 Campus Creek Complex, 1405 Campus
Creek Road, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
J Fam Viol (2016) 31:981984
DOI 10.1007/s10896-016-9860-9
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... Die empirische Forschung hat eine Anzahl von Risikofaktoren für die Ausübung 2 von IPG identifiziert. Grundsätzlich muss von einem komplexen Zusammenspiel verschiedener Risikofaktoren ausgegangen werden (beispielsweise Stith et al. 2004;Spencer et al. 2016 Hilton et al. (2014) in einer längsschnittlichen Studie über 9 Jahre (n = 30) eine hohe prädiktive Validität (AUC = 0,72) des ODARA (wobei die Rückfallraten von denen der Männer abwichen). Dies ist zurzeit als vorläufiges Resultat einzustufen (Yaxley et al. 2018), das in Deutschland bzw. ...
... a.Steinau et al. in press). Gemäß einer Metaanalyse vonMatias et al. (2019) wiesen Männer, die ihre Partnerin getötet haben, im Vergleich zu nichttödlich verlaufenden IPG-Fällen im Vorfeld häufiger Suizidgedanken und Suizidversuche auf.Weiterhin gibt es Hinweise, dass patriarchalische Einstellungen Risikofaktoren für IPG sind(Stith et al. 2004), jedoch scheinen kontrollierende Verhaltensweisen an sich keine Risikofaktoren zu sein, die spezifisch für Männer gelten(Spencer et al. 2016). Eine spezielle Kategorie, die jedoch noch wenig erforscht ist, bildet die ehrbasierte IPG. ...
... Diesbezüglich gibt es Hinweise, dass die Täter kaum psychische Störungen oder Persönlichkeitsstörungen aufweisen(Belfrage et al. 2012). Risikofaktoren für ehrbasierte IPG sind im Risikoeinschätzungsinstrument PATRIARCH zu finden(Belfrage 2005).In einer Metaanalyse kamenSpencer et al. (2016) zum Schluss, dass sich Männer und Frauen, die IPG ausüben, hinsichtlich 60 berücksichtigter Risikofaktoren weitgehend ähnlich sind. Geschlechtsunterschiede ergaben sich nur in 3 Aspekten u. a. bezüglich, Gewalt in der Kindheit erlebt/ bezeugt zu haben, sowie bezüglich Alkoholkonsum/-Missbrauch, die bei Männern wichtigere Risikofaktoren darstellten als bei Frauen. ...
... A study reported that there is a relationship between forced sex in teenagers and factors such as gender, negative self-concept, and suicidal ideation [13]. Forced sex has also been associated with attitude factors in adults such as low self-efficacy as well as sexual relationship associated behaviors, including a large number of past friendship partners [14,15]. The risk of these factors is closely associated with socio-ecological factors, including social, cultural, religious, familial, educational, political, and ideological factors affecting lifestyle [14]. ...
... Forced sex has also been associated with attitude factors in adults such as low self-efficacy as well as sexual relationship associated behaviors, including a large number of past friendship partners [14,15]. The risk of these factors is closely associated with socio-ecological factors, including social, cultural, religious, familial, educational, political, and ideological factors affecting lifestyle [14]. ...
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Background Forced sex is associated with negative psychological health outcomes. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of forced sex and its predictors. Methods This cross-sectional study was performed on 800 students of a university in USA using a random sampling method. Reproductive health electronic questionnaire was used for data collection. Due to the sensitive nature of the questionnaires and for anonymity, Qualtrics software was used. To estimate the extent of the effect of each of the independent variables (knowledge, attitude, as well as socio-demographic characteristics) on the dependent variable (forced sex), multivariate logistic regression was used. Results About one-fifth of students (16.9%) had experienced forced sex. The variables of gender, knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and sexual attitude were among the predictors of forced sex. This kind of sexual relationship was more likely to occur in girls than in boys (OR = 2.94, 95%CI: 1.20 to 1.71). Further, the chance of forced sex significantly increased with growing knowledge of STD (OR = 1.41, 95%CI: 1.61 to 1.71), and sexual attitude (OR = 1.23, 95%CI: 1.04 to 1.21). Conclusion Considering the impact of gender, knowledge about STD, and sexual attitude on forced sex, educational interventions among the youth especially girls are required to provide complete and proper information about sexual and reproductive health and rights and correct the sexual attitudes of the youth.
... Approximately, 30% of women worldwide have experienced IPV at least once in their life (WHO, 2013). However, most of our knowledge about IPV comes from research and meta-analyses conducted in Western countries (Arroyo et al., 2017;Caetano et al., 2017;Cafferky et al., 2018;Spencer et al., 2016;Stith et al., 2004). During the past decade, the number of international studies focused on IPV has increased and several studies have systematically reviewed the knowledge 1 Kansas State University, Manhattan, USA generated on IPV in non-Western countries (Boy & Kulczycki, 2008;Clark et al., 2010;Hajnasiri et al., 2016). ...
... We also found that partner's experience of child abuse was a significant risk marker for female IPV victimization in Iran. Prior literature has shown that experiencing abuse as a child is related to perpetrating IPV in future relationships (Alderondo et al., 2002;Faramarzi et al., 2005;Reitzel-Jaffe, & Wolfe, 2001;Schafer et al., 2004;Smith-Marek et al., 2015;Spencer et al., 2016;Stith et al., 2000). We also found that partner's drug use was a significant risk marker for IPV victimization. ...
In this study, evidence from 14 studies examines 16 unique risk markers for intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization for Iranian women. Large-to-medium effect sizes were found for emotional abuse victimization, depression, poor mental health, poor physical health, partner’s drug use, living in a patriarchal household, and partner having experienced child abuse as risk markers. Higher levels of education and higher levels of household income were significant protective markers against IPV victimization for Iranian women. Partner’s education, partner’s employment, being employed, being pregnant, age, partner’s age, and length of the relationship were not significant risk markers for IPV victimization among Iranian women.
... Contrary to conventional findings that males tend to engage in crime and delinquency at a disproportionate rate relative to females, some researchers have found that women are just as likely as men to engage in IPV (i.e., the gender symmetry thesis; Straus 2009). Further, there is no clear consensus in the literature about whether men and women share the same risk factors for perpetrating IPV (Spencer, Cafferky, and Stith 2016). Agnew's (2005) integrated theory is well suited for exploring the seemingly contradictory evidence on IPV perpetration among males and females because it is designed to explain why certain groups have higher crime rates than others. ...
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Objectives We assess the proposed mechanisms outlined in Agnew’s General Theory of Crime and Delinquency about gender differences in crime and deviance (gender differences are due to differences between males and females in their standing on the life domains or differences in the effect of the life domains on the phenomenon among males and females) in accounting for sex differences in intimate partner violence (IPV) among a sample of young adults. Methods Drawing data from the International Dating Violence Study (IDVS) and employing the negative binomial regression method, we examined the effects of six self-domains, four family domains, one school/work domain, and one peer domain measures on IPV. Results Although males reported a higher frequency across all five life domains compared to females, the number of life domain variables that were significantly related to IPV among females was greater than the number among males. Further, the effects of the life domain variables on IPV were different for males and females with the peer variable (criminal peers) exhibiting the greatest effect on IPV among males and the self-domain (anger issues) demonstrating the greatest effect on IPV among females. Conclusions Agnew’s theory is well suited to assess sex differences in IPV.
This study aimed to compare the experiences lived in the family of origin of couples who undergo uni or bidirectional violence. It is a quantitative, descriptive, comparative study in which 304 heterosexual couples participated. A sociodemographic questionnaire, the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2), and the Family Background Questionnaire (FBQ) were used. For 72.4% of couples, psychological violence was expressed in a bidirectional way, whereas physical violence and sexual coercion, when unidirectional, were more committed by men. The dimension of physical violence was the one that had the most experiences of the family of origin, which differed between the groups. Acting in a preventive way may minimize the perpetuation of relationships that use violence to solve conflicts.
Objective Intimate partner violence (IPV) among college students is a significant problem that negatively affects their physical and emotional health. This study aimed at examining risk factors, especially childhood adversities at the individual, relationship, and community levels, of IPV perpetration among college students. Methods: The sample from seven universities in the U.S. and Canada (N = 3,725) completed an online survey. Major variables included IPV perpetration, five types of childhood adversities, alcohol and drug use, depression, and demographic information. Logistic regression was performed. Results: Peer violence victimization, witnessing parental IPV, experiencing child maltreatment, drug use, and depression were associated with a higher odd of perpetrating IPV. Conclusions: Research and practice must account for exposure to multiple risk factors when intervening with college students. An integrative approach that combines trauma-informed interventions with substance use and mental health treatment may be most successful at IPV perpetration prevention and intervention among college students.
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Purpose The present study was conducted to examine the relationship between men's gender motivation and violence tendencies. Design and Methods The sample of this descriptive study consisted of 450 male participants. The data were collected using a descriptive questionnaire, Gender Motivation Scale and Violence Tendency Scale. Findings It was found that there was a negative and moderate correlation between feminine norms with intrinsic motivation and violence tendency scores (p < 0.05). A positive and moderate correlation was found between masculine norms with extrinsic motivation and violence tendency scores (p < 0.05). Practice Implatications Effective therapeutic strategy activities involving men with dominant masculine norms as a special group should be given priority to improve gender motivation and violence tendency outcomes.
Literature linking aggressive behavior across internalizing and externalizing disorders support the co‐occurrence of aggression and various mental health diagnoses. However, research has yet to examine relationships between aggression and dimensional psychopathology models that cut across diagnostic boundaries (e.g., internalizing, externalizing composites) and capture shared liability across common disorders. The role of gender has also been largely ignored in prior work, despite evidence that men and women manifest psychopathology differently. The present study examined cross‐sectional and longitudinal relationships between psychopathology composites (i.e., Internalizing, Externalizing) and different manifestations of physical aggression (i.e., aggressive traits, general violence, physical intimate partner violence, and self‐directed aggression), as well as moderation by gender. Internalizing (INT) and Externalizing (EXT) lifetime symptoms and various physically aggressive behaviors were assessed at baseline and at 6 months and 1 year follow up in a sample of 319 adults with violence and/or substance use histories. Cross‐sectional results showed that INT was associated with all forms of aggression, and women showed stronger relationships between INT and both physical intimate partner violence (IPV) and self‐directed aggression. EXT was specifically linked to general violence, and a stronger relationship between EXT and self‐directed aggression emerged in men compared to women. Longitudinal relationships were mostly small and nonsignificant. Results support the co‐occurrence of aggression with distinct forms of psychopathology, as well as gender‐dependent relationships, but do not support the predictive validity of symptom composites in aggression risk. Findings implicate the need for aggression interventions tailored within gender.
Women’s use of intimate partner aggression remains a controversial research topic. Studies suggest that experiences of racism and heterosexism are associated with the use of intimate partner aggression among people impacted by these forms of oppression. Women also have unique experiences of discrimination that may be associated with their use of intimate partner aggression. The current study examined the direct association between women’s experiences of sexist discrimination and intimate partner aggression as well as the indirect relationship through mental health symptoms. All measures were gathered during Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), with data provided by 13,928 women. Structural equation modeling identified a significant direct relationship between women’s experiences of sexist discrimination and their use of intimate partner aggression, β = .04, z = 3.07, p = .002, and a significant indirect path through mental health symptoms (depression and anxiety; ab = .04, 95% CI [0.03, 0.05]). Women who experienced greater sexist discrimination reported greater mental health symptoms and more intimate partner aggression. The findings support the novel hypothesis that women’s intimate partner aggression may, in part, result from experiences of sexist discrimination and the emotional and mental distress associated with these experiences. These results offer important implications for practitioners, researchers, and policy makers by highlighting the need for gender-responsive interventions for women’s intimate partner aggression that consider how sexist experiences and mental health symptoms are associated with women’s relationship behaviors.
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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.
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Research that shows approximately equal rates of dating and domestic violence by men and women has been used to challenge the priority given to services for abused women. This article reviews the scientific evidence for gender equality in rates of lethal and nonlethal intimate partner violence. Among the problems noted in studies showing gender equality are the ways in which questions about violence are framed, exclusion of items about sexual abuse and stalking, and exclusion of separated couples. Studies without these problems show much higher rates of violence by men. Furthermore, the physical and psychological consequences of victimization are consistently more severe for women.
IntroductionIndividual studiesThe summary effectHeterogeneity of effect sizesSummary points
This paper addresses the contradiction between the conceptualization of partner violence as almost exclusively perpetrated by men and over 200 studies with data on both men and women which found "gender symmetry," i.e., that about the same percentage of women as men physically assault a partner. Both Straus (1990) and Johnson (1995) suggested that the contradiction can be resolved by taking a "dual population" approach. Straus argued that "ordinary" violence, such as slapping, shoving, and throwing things at a partner, is prevalent in the general population and is symmetrical; whereas "severe" violence such as choking, punching, and attacks with objects are rare in the general population but common in clinical populations and are male-predominant. Similarly, Johnson (1995) argued that "situational violence" is prevalent in the general population and symmetrical, whereas "intimate terrorism" is rare and is perpetrated almost exclusively by men. However, a review of 91 empirical comparisons found that symmetry and mutual violence perpetration is typical of relationships involving severe and injurious assaults and agency intervention, and of "intimate terrorists" as measured by Johnson's criteria. The discussion of these results suggests that much of the controversy arises because those who assert gender symmetry do so on the basis of perpetration rates, whereas those who deny gender symmetry do so on the basis of the effects of victimization, i.e. the greater harm experienced by women. Thus, the "different population" explanations of the controversy need to be replaced by a "perpetration versus effects" explanation. When prevention of perpetration is the focus, the predominance of symmetry and mutuality suggests that prevention could be enhanced by addressing programs to girls and women as well as boys and men. When offender treatment is the focus, the results suggest that effectiveness could be enhanced by changing treatment programs to address assaults by both partners when applicable.
Offering pragmatic guidance for planning and conducting a meta-analytic review, this book is written in an engaging, nontechnical style that makes it ideal for ...