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Gender Patterns in Intimate Partner Violence: Results from 33 Campus Climate Surveys Based on the Partner Victimization Scale


Abstract and Figures

Objective: The replication of findings is an important aspect of scientific research. This report examines data from a literature review of campus climate surveys and other research publications to determine the replicability of the pattern of gender asymmetry in intimate partner violence (IPV) found in the first studies using the Partner Victimization Scale (PVS). The key feature of the PVS is that it addresses the issue of false positives by instructing participants to omit behaviors that involved horseplay or joking around. Method: A search of the literature identified 33 studies, all campus climate surveys, with data on gender patterns in victimization rates based on the PVS. Together, the studies include more than 29,000 participants. Many sites adapted or modified the PVS, but all retained the key instruction to omit incidents due to horseplay or joking around. Results: The pooled averages of all survey sites showed a rate of female victimization (18.0%) that is almost double the rate of male victimization (10.6%), a statistically significant difference. Although only available for three campuses, rates for participants who identified as transgender or gender non-conforming were high (19.4%). Conclusions: The results provide independent replication of the gender asymmetry found in Hamby’s original study. These findings are consistent with other IPV indicators, including homicide data, reports to police, witness reports, arrests, help-seeking data, and some other self-report data. These results provide further support for the premise that the gender symmetry that has been found in other surveys may be largely due to false positive reports. Further research should include the full spectrum of gender identities to better understand gender and IPV.
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Gender Patterns in
Intimate Partner Violence:
Results from 33 Campus
Climate Surveys Based on the
Partner Victimization Scale
Anne-Stuart Bell,1 Martha Dinwiddie,1
& Sherry Hamby1,2
1Life Paths Appalachian Research Center, 2University of the South
© 2018 Life Paths Appalachian Research Center. All rights reserved.
Permission is granted to reproduce this report or portions thereof, so long as attribution
to the original source (citation below) is maintained.
Suggested citation:
Bell, A. S., Dinwiddie, M., & Hamby, S. (2018). Gender patterns in intimate partner
violence: Results from 33 campus climate surveys based on the Partner Victimization
Scale. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.34326.86086. Sewanee, TN: Life Paths Appalachian
Research Center.
Corresponding author:
Sherry Hamby,
Life Paths Appalachian Research Center
PO Box 187
Sewanee, TN 37375
Table of Contents
Overview ..................................................................................... 4
Introduction ............................................................................... 5
The Partner Victimization Scale ................................................................. 6
Monitoring the Campus Climate for Victimization Risk ............................ 7
Method ........................................................................................ 7
Campus Climate Surveys ............................................................................ 7
Independent Publications .......................................................................... 8
Results ........................................................................................ 9
Campus Climate Survey Findings .............................................................. 9
IPV Rates for Graduate vs Undergraduate Students ................................. 12
IPV Victimization Across the Gender Identity Spectrum .......................... 12
Item-Level Data ......................................................................................... 13
Other Replication Findings .......................................................................14
Discussion ................................................................................ 14
Limitations ................................................................................................16
Conclusions ...............................................................................................16
References ................................................................................. 17
Campus Climate Survey Links ................................................... 19
Appendix: Partner Victimization Scale ..................................... 20
Objective: The replication of findings is an important aspect of scientific research.
This report examines data from a literature review of campus climate surveys and other
research publications to determine the replicability of the pattern of gender asymmetry
in intimate partner violence (IPV) found in the first studies using the Partner
Victimization Scale (PVS). The key feature of the PVS is that it addresses the issue of
false positives by instructing participants to omit behaviors that involved horseplay or
joking around. Method: A search of the literature identified 33 studies, all campus
climate surveys, with data on gender patterns in victimization rates based on the PVS.
Together, the studies include more than 29,000 participants. Many sites adapted or
modified the PVS, but all retained the key instruction to omit incidents due to horseplay
or joking around. Results: The pooled averages of all survey sites showed a rate of
female victimization (18.0%) that is almost double the rate of male victimization
(10.6%), a statistically significant difference. Although only available for three
campuses, rates for participants who identified as transgender or gender non-
conforming were high (19.4%). Conclusions: The results provide independent
replication of the gender asymmetry found in Hamby’s original study. These findings
are consistent with other IPV indicators, including homicide data, reports to police,
witness reports, arrests, help-seeking data, and some other self-report data. These
results provide further support for the premise that the gender symmetry that has been
found in other surveys may be largely due to false positive reports. Further research
should include the full spectrum of gender identities to better understand gender and
As a society, we have reached consensus on many aspects of intimate partner violence
(IPV), such as recognizing the severity of harms often caused by IPV and the need to
invest in efforts to understand the causes and ameliorate IPVs negative impacts (Black
et al., 2011). Understanding the prevalence, victimization, and perpetration of IPV is
crucial to furthering efforts to curtail it. However, tracking the occurrence of IPV has
proved unexpectedly challenging, with large discrepancies in the rates of IPV across data
sources (Hamby, 2014). Even more surprisingly, some measures have suggested gender
parity, or similar rates of victimization for men and women (with very little data on
people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming). In contrast, many other
indicators, such as homicide rates, reports to the police, arrests by police, reports by
witnesses, help-seeking, and some other self-report measures, do not find gender parity.
Recently, Hamby (2016a,b) has identified false positives as a likely source of the gender
parity observed with some measures, based on previous research on false positives and a
series of studies exploring the impact of item wording on obtained gender patterns for
IPV (Hamby, 2016a,b). This report summarizes the findings of others who have used or
adapted the Partner Victimization Scale (PVS) to explore gender patterns in
independent replications.
Hamby (2017a) provides an overview of the debate that continues among violence
researchers on the problem of accurately measuring IPV, namely, the question of gender
parity in reports of IPV victimization. Gender parity researchers have defined parity as
“approximately equal rates of perpetration of nonsexual physical assaults by male and
female partners, or higher rates by female partners” (Straus, 2011, p. 280). Some
research methodologies, typically self-report scales, produce seemingly incongruous
results as compared to the reports coming out of legal, criminal, and advocacy
institutions (Hamby, 2009, 2014). Although the latter data sources support the notion
that women experience IPV victimization at rates higher than do men, this asymmetry is
often not reflected in results from self-report scales, especially the Conflict Tactics Scale
(Straus, Hamby, Boney-McCoy, & Sugarman, 1996). Overwhelmingly, women are the
primary seekers of aid from law enforcement, shelters, and other services in the context
of IPV (Hamby, 2009; 2014). If support seeking followed the data found in much of IPV
research, we should see equal or similar levels of support-seeking between men and
women. As many studies report a lack of gender difference in victimization or
perpetration (e.g., Bookwala, Frieze, Smith, & Ryan, 1992; Straus, 2007), one would
expect to see that reflected in criminal incident reports, advocate client logs, and
numbers of shelter residents. This discrepancy produces an important quandary for
violence researchers that warrants more widespread investigation.
Given that findings of gender parity are contrary to reports by legal, criminal, and
advocacy institutions, we must consider the validity of the scales used in IPV research
(Hamby, 2014). Hamby has hypothesized that it is the wording of survey questions that
creates the illusion of parity, and that false positives in some surveys explain the
discrepancy across some broadly-worded surveys and other sources of data on IPV
(Hamby, 2009; Hamby, 2016b, 2017a). Several studies have suggested that false
positive reporting is common in some IPV measures (Ackerman, 2018; Arriaga, 2002;
Fernández-González, O’Leary, & Muñoz-Rivas, 2013; Foshee, Bauman, Linder, Rice, &
Wilcher, 2007; Gonzalez-Mendez & Hernandez-Cabrera, 2009; Jouriles, Garrido,
Rosenfield, & McDonald, 2009; Lerhner & Allen, 2014). Recent research suggests that
this problem is not limited to the CTS and other similar broadly-worded IPV checklists,
but may also extend to sexual assault measures, which may also need efforts to increase
item precision (Littleton, Layh, Rudolph, & Haney, online first).
The Partner Victimization Scale
The Partner Victimization Scale (PVS; Hamby, 2016a) is intended to filter out false
positive responses. There are a variety of pushes and even hits that do not meet the
definition of violence, such as those occurring during accidents, contact sports, and
other settings, but prior research suggests that, especially for younger people, horseplay
and joking around is a major source of these false positives. Violence requires the
intentional commission of unwanted, unnecessary, and harmful acts (Hamby, 2017b).
Thus, each PVS item is prefaced with the clarification, “Not including horseplay or
joking around…” The statement is not only intended to screen out behaviors such as
play-wrestling, which are largely consensual and harmless behaviors, but also to better
communicate that the disclosures are for aggressive, malicious behaviors. This phrase
was chosen after consideration of some other alternatives, although other approaches to
screening out false positives also reduce gender parity (see Hamby, 2016a and 2017a for
other options). With such clarification, it is less likely for participants to be included
incorrectly in the victimization count.
The original PVS study (Hamby, 2016a) was based on a sample of 1207 adults ranging
from 18-70 years of age (M = 33.4 years; SD = 11.2 years) and 66% female-identified
from a low-income region in rural Appalachia. In this sample, 34.1% of females reported
any lifetime IPV victimization; 18.7% of males reported lifetime IPV victimization,
indicating significantly higher female victimization and rates that were almost twice as
high for women. Individual item rates ranged from 11.5% to 27.8% for women and 1.8%
to 14.2% for men, showing significant gender asymmetry for each question (see
Appendix for text of items). The first replication was also conducted by Hamby (2016b)
in a sample of 614 drawn from the same region. Gender asymmetry was again found,
although the reported rates were somewhat higher (44.5% for women and 30% for
men). Each item again showed asymmetry, with females reporting higher victimization
than males.
Monitoring the Campus Climate for Victimization Risk
Interest in IPV surveillance has recently increased considerably on college campuses,
thanks to changes in Title IX guidance during the Obama administration. The
collaborators of the Administrator Researcher Campus Climate Collaborative (ARC3,
2015) sought to improve the surveillance of various types of misconduct, including IPV.
They recommended a slightly adapted version of the PVS (details in Method) for
universities using the ARC3 Campus Climate Survey, providing a potentially large pool
of studies in a relatively short time period. This created an opportunity to examine the
results of independent replications of gender patterns based on the PVS.
The purpose of this report is to review the gender patterns in independent replications
based on the Partner Victimization Scale (Hamby 2016a,b).
We reviewed multiple literature types for this report. We conducted two different
literature searches. The first search specifically looked for campus climate surveys that
used the ARC3 to measure dating violence. The second literature search reviewed those
publications which have cited the Hamby, 2016 PVS paper.
Campus Climate Surveys
The ARC3 is the result of a collaborative group of sexual assault researchers and campus
professionals seeking to develop an effective measure for campus climate surveys in
response to the White House Task Force on Keeping Students Safe on Campus. The
ARC3 is an effort to improve the quality of the data being collected in campus climate
surveys. The items used in the ARC3 survey were derived from the PVS. We were aware
that the PVS had been incorporated into the ARC3 because Kevin Swartout, one of the
ARC3 researchers, contacted Hamby for permission to use the PVS in the ARC3. For the
dating violence module, any affirmative response is coded as the participant having
experienced or perpetrated IPV. The ARC3 and further information about the ARC3
project can be accessed through the collaborative’s website:
Each university has flexibility in whether they use the entire ARC3 and/or modify it in
any way, but we still anticipated that these might be a source of PVS-based data. Each
university can use the Georgia State University team (where ARC3 is based) as a
resource, but those researchers are not typically directly involved in the data collection
on any individual campus.
We conducted a systematic review of the literature using two search engines, Google
Scholar and Bing, that include “gray” literature (reports and other documents published
outside of traditional journals or books). Both searches were restricted to results
published from 2015 to the present (after the PVS would have been available). We used
two different search strings, which were modeled after ones developed by Krause et al.
(in press) for a review of sexual assault rates. The first, (“campus climate survey” OR
“title IX” OR “sexual violence” OR “sexual assault”) ~survey filetype:pdf site:edu,
produced hits of 1760 in Google and 3360 in Bing. The second string, (“campus climate
survey” OR “title IX” OR “sexual violence” OR “dating” OR “intimate partner” OR
“relationship” OR “sexual assault”) ~survey filetype:pdf site:edu, resulted in hits of
20,800 in Google and 621,000 in Bing. Due to the large number of hits produced by
these types of search engines, most of which do not include relevant data, we adopted a
procedure developed in Hamby, Blount, et al. (2017), in which pages of “hits” were
searched until an entire page of 10 hits yielded no relevant results. This resulted in
reviewing 240 articles, producing rates for 33 campuses.
Data from surveys were included in this review if they provided rates of dating violence
victimization for male and female participants, at a minimum. If available, rates are
also provided for people who reported another gender identity (transgender or other
gender non-conforming, TGNC).
Included surveys also needed to have the PVS exclusion criteria statement in their
campus climate survey. Sites differed in where they included the statement about
horseplay or joking; some schools stated it only in the instructions, whereas others kept
it in front of each item, as in the original PVS format. Some campuses added additional
questions on dating violence beyond what is included in the original PVS (see below).
The referent period in the ARC3 survey is the time the participant has been a student on
their current campus.
Independent Publications
For other uses of the PVS, we conducted a literature review of publications that cite the
article from which the PVS originated (Hamby, 2016a), as indicated by Google Scholar
in June, 2018. This resulted in 34 articles. To be included in this review, the
publications needed to provide quantitative data on the PVS by independent authors
that included rates of victimization for males and females. Three articles included data
on victimization from studies conducted by independent authors, but two of these only
included female victimization and one of them reported “modes” (the average number of
items endorsed), not the rate (percentage of participants reporting at least one
victimization). Thus, none of these studies met our inclusion criteria, but the three data-
based ones are described briefly in results.
Campus Climate Survey Findings
We found 13 universities or university systems that used the ARC3 for their campus
climate survey, with the Penn State system including data from multiple campuses. This
resulted in data from 33 campuses for this report. Sample sizes ranged from 61
(Dickinson Law campus of Penn State) to 6952 participants (University of Iowa,), with
an average sample size of 1089.
The assessment of IPV varied somewhat across surveys. Several campuses added items
to their IPV modules. Examples of these include items regarding sexual safety (“My
partner refused to wear a condom when I wanted to”), psychological abuse (“My partner
insisted on knowing where I was at all times” and “…tried to keep me from seeing or
talking to friends and family”), and sexual orientation (“My partner threatened to
disclose my sexual orientation against my will”). We included results of all surveys that
retained the key PVS innovation, which is instructing respondents not to include any
horseplay or joking around in their reports of violence. All campuses coded participants
as having experienced IPV if they answered affirmatively to one or more items on the
Although rates of IPV varied among campuses, in general female respondents reported
higher victimization than their male peers (see Figure 1). Rates of female IPV
victimization ranged from 0% of the female sample to 31%, with a pooled average of
18.0%; rates of male IPV victimization ranged from 0% of the male sample to 25.1%,
with a pooled average of 10.6% (see Table 1). A chi-square test of independence was
performed to examine the relation between gender and victimization. The relation
between the variables was significant, X2 (1, N = 29143) = 293.41, p < .0001. Female-
identifying participants were significantly more likely to be IPV victims than their male
Figure 1. Pooled averages for IPV rates across 33 campuses that used the ARC3
survey, with more than 29,000 total respondents. See Table 1 for rates for males and
females for each campus. See pages 12-13 for available information on
transgender/gender non-conforming (TGNC) students.
Table 1.
Victimization Rates for Females and Males from ARC3 Campus Climate Survey Sites
Campus Female % n Male % n
U. Washington 31.0% 2683 25.1% 1613
U. Illinois 26.1 1451 15.5 888
Ferris State U. 25.6 402 10.6 240
Ohio U. 22.4 1035 9.9 314
Palm Beach Atlantic U. 22.0 203 16.7 23
Tulane U. 18.5 -- 12.1 --
U. Iowa (2017) 17.5 4728 10.3 2198
U. Oregon 12.8 824 6.4 477
U. Iowa (2015) 12.7 1972 5.7 711
Penn State Campuses
University Park (Main campus) 12.2 2460 7.1 2085
Wilkes-Barre 17.8 a 44 5.8 a 71
Schuylkill 14.1 98 7.7 a 42
Behrend 11.7 182 7.6 268
Berks 11.2 186 7.1 184
Harrisburg (Undergraduate) 11.2 163 2.5 a 170
Abingdon 10.7 159 3.8 a 105
Altoona 10.1 208 3.0 a 172
York 9.9 122 3.7 a 112
Payette 9.9 a 102 2.1 a 50
Greater Allegheny 9.5 a 63 5.0 a 62
Worthington Scranton 9.1 a 100 1.3 a 77
Lehigh Valley 8.8 a 91 1.3 a 82
Mont Alto 8.4 a 107 1.7 a 60
Harrisburg (Graduate) 7.4 a 96 2.8 a 62
Beaver 7.1 a 84 5.1 a 78
Shenango 7.0 a 71 0.0 a 25
Hershey 6.6 229 2.8 a 182
Hazleton 6.5 a 109 4.2 a 99
Dickinson Law 6.1 a 31 3.9 a 30
DuBois 5.5 a 80 7.7 a 67
Brandywine 4.6 a 135 2.3 a 129
New Kensington 4.2 a 72 5.6 a 89
Great Valley 0.0 a 38 0.0 a 50
Sample sizes for each gender -- 18328 -- 10815
Pooled rate 18.0% 3302 10.6% 1141
Chi-square = 293.41, p < .0001.
Notes. Participants were considered an IPV victim if they provided 1 or more affirmative responses to IPV questions.
Tulane omitted from chi-square analysis due to lack of sample size information. Sites often modified items from the
original PVS, but all of these sites retained the key PVS innovation, which is instructing participants to omit incidents
involving horseplay or joking around.
a Victimization rate estimate based on 10 or fewer participants reporting victimization, interpret with caution.
U of Oregon Penn State
(Harrisburg) Penn State
(University Park)
Undergraduate IPV by Campus
and Gender
Male Female
U of Oregon Penn State
(Harrisburg) Penn State
Graduate IPV by Campus and
Male Female
IPV Rates for Graduate vs Undergraduate Students
The higher rates of female victimization were not limited to traditionally aged college
students (18 to 22 years). This is best illustrated by the schools that reported data for
both graduate and undergraduate students, providing rates of victimization for two
distinct age groups. In both graduate (Figure 2) and undergraduate surveys (Figure 3),
female respondents reported more victimization than males. Graduate females reported
a victimization rate of 11.0% (Oregon), 7.4% (Penn State Harrisburg), and 9.2% (Penn
State University Park). In comparison, male graduate students reported lower rates of
victimization 7.0% (Oregon), 2.8% (Penn State Harrisburg), and 4.9% (Penn State).
Figure 2. Figure 3.
IPV Victimization Across the Gender Identity Spectrum
Only three campuses reported data for transgender, genderqueer, and gender non-
conforming (TGNC) students. Although sample sizes for TGNC participants were small
(range 25 to 75), they reported the highest rates at two of the three campuses. The
lowest rate of victimization was 18.9% of the TGNC sample; the highest rate was 32.0%.
As seen in Figure 1, the pooled rate for these campuses was 19.4%, slightly higher than
the pooled rates for female-identified students and almost twice as high as the rate for
male-identified students. More inclusive measures of gender are needed in future
0.0% 2.0% 4.0% 6.0% 8.0% 10.0% 12.0% 14.0%
…tried to hurt me by pushing, grabbing, or shaking me
…tried to hurt me by hitting me
…beat me up
…threatened me and I thought I would get hurt
…stole or destroyed my property
…can scare me without laying a hand on me
Percentage Victimization
PVS Item
Individual Item Response by Gender for Penn State Sample
Male (n = 888)
Female (n = 1451)
Overall (n = 2742)
Figure 4. Victimization rates for campuses including transgender or gender non-
conforming as a gender identity.
Item-level Data
Penn State at University Park also included a breakdown of each item in their IPV
module (Figure 5). Each item demonstrated gender asymmetry except for “…tried to
hurt me by hitting me.”
Figure 5.
U of Washington Ohio U Penn State (University Park)
Percentage IPV Victimization
Male Female GNC/Genderqueer/Transgender
Other Replication Findings
We were able to find three other independent studies that used the PVS with their
samples. As noted in the Method, two of the studies only reported data on female
participants (Schultz, 2016; Woerner, 2017). Woerner also reported only the average
number of acts endorsed, no rates.
Notably, Schultz’s study was a national sample of Tribal Colleges and Universities
(TCUs), providing some evidence of reliability and validity for use with native
communities. That study showed a 42% IPV victimization rate (n = 755, N = 1810), the
highest of the female victimization rates included in this review.
Rosenthal, Smidt, and Freyd (2016) did not report rates for dating violence, but for all
types of sexual and intimate victimization, 70% of women reported at least one form of
sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, or dating violence, compared to 54% of men.
Because this rate is not directly comparable to the IPV rates in the campus climate
surveys, it was not included in the pooled average. However, the rate still suggests
asymmetry in sexual and intimate victimization.
This review provides further evidence that efforts to reduce false positives in IPV self-
report produce rates indicating more female than male victimization. Although some
other self-report surveys have also found gender asymmetry, the reasons for the
discrepancies across self-report surveys has not been well understood (Hamby, 2017a).
These results provide a measurement approach that aligns with other indicators of IPV,
including homicides, arrests, reports to police (whether they result in arrest or not),
witness reports, and help-seeking data, all of which consistently indicate higher rates of
female than male victimization.
Further, these results suggest that many different questions can be used under the
general framework of instructing participants not to report incidents involving
horseplay or joking around. Several sites added some questions, re-worded PVS
questions, and/or moved the instruction to omit horseplay and joking around from the
item stem (beginning of each item) to the general instructions for the scale. For the
most part as long as that essential element was included, gender symmetry was not
found. Although not strict replications of the PVS study, these modifications indicate
that the PVS pattern is robust to these types of modifications. It appears that the gender
patterns observed are not specific to the wording of the PVS items, but rather the
general effort to reduce false positives is accounting for the gender asymmetry in
observed rates.
A few other observations can be offered. Small samples under 200 participantsand
especially those under 100 participantstended to produce the lowest estimates. Of the
16 campuses with rates under 10% for females, 15 of them had sample sizes under 150
female participants. Similarly, of the 15 campuses with rates under 5% for males, 12 of
those had sample sizes of under 150 male participants. This suggests that these rates
may be unstable, especially for men, with several rates based on fewer than 10 victims.
Even beyond size, sampling may be an issue. Some schools may be struggling to recruit
their most at-risk students into campus climate surveys. Some of these schools also
produced similar rates for males and females, with one survey of 88 participants even
producing a rate of 0% for males and females (which is unlikely to be a correct estimate
of the true population parameter). The difference between these findings and those
from the larger samples, which never showed gender symmetry, are striking and
illustrate the importance of adequate sample sizes to measure phenomena that have
relatively low base rates, from a statistical point of view, even though they represent
significant public health problems in terms of the burden on individuals and
The pooled averages in this report are similar to those found among a national high
school sample in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS; Vagi, O’Malley Olsen, Basile, &
Vivolo-Kantor, 2015). As in these replications, female victimization was much higher
than male victimization. In Vagi et al., female high schoolers had a victimization rate of
20.9% and the male peers had a rate of 10.4%. In the YRBS, an annual CDC survey,
asymmetry was found only after the YRBS was reworded to operationalize concepts like
intent and harm (Vagi, O’Malley Olsen, Basile, & Vivolo-Kantor). Previously, the YRBS
found gender symmetry, from what appears now to be due to the overly broad wording
of earlier items.
The data about graduate versus undergraduate rates of IPV victimization provides a few
interesting insights. Primarily, the continuation of gender asymmetry in the graduate
sample suggests that higher rates of female victimization are not limited to a young,
undergraduate sample. This was consistent with the findings of the original PVS study
and first replication, which were also conducted on older samples (Hamby, 2016a,b).
Future directions include expanding gender identity categories beyond male and female.
Only a few sites included other options in this review. In the few samples reporting
TGNC data, they reported far higher victimization rates than either male-identified or
female-identified students. Further study of this demographic could prove useful to the
question of gender parity and IPV victimization risks.
The PVS and ARC3 are both relatively new and hopefully new approaches to measuring
intimate partner violence will continue. Due to the inclusion of PVS items in the ARC3,
there have already been several studies conducted, but almost all of them have been
with college student populations, except for the original PVS sample and Hamby’s
replication. More diverse samples are needed.
Unfortunately, Title IX guidelines do not suggest standardized reporting methods,
which resulted in a wide variety of reporting methods, lengths, styles, and detail.
Whereas some campuses provided a more academic report of results, others included a
simplified executive summary or key points presentation. We were not able to access
information for many universities.
Overall, these campus climate surveys indicate higher female IPV victimization than
male IPV victimization. Providing accurate assessments, particularly when the results of
the research are needed to guide prevention, intervention, and policy, is crucial for
violence research. These new efforts to more accurately monitor intimate partner
violence on college campuses are an important step toward an improved understanding
of IPV and will hopefully allow us to more effectively prevent IPV in the future.
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* denotes source of campus climate survey providing data for the current study
Campus Climate Surveys:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Oregon
University of North Texas
Ferris State University
University of Washington
University of Iowa (2015)
University of Iowa (2017)
Ohio University
Penn State
Dickinson Law
Great Valley
Greater Allegheny
Lehigh Valley
Mont Alto
New Kensington
University Park***
Worthington Scranton
Note. *** Main campus, largest sample
Tulane University
Midwestern State University
Palm Beach Atlantic University
Partner Victimization Scale (PVS)
Answer the next questions about any boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife you have had, including exes.
1. Not including horseplay or joking around, my partner threatened to hurt me and I thought I might
really get hurt.
Yes 1
No 0
2. Not including horseplay or joking around, my partner pushed, grabbed, or shook me.
Yes 1
No 0
3. Not including horseplay or joking around, my partner hit me.
Yes 1
No 0
4. Not including horseplay or joking around, my partner beat me up.
Yes 1
No 0
5. My partner made me do sexual things when I didn’t want to.
Yes 1
No 0
© 2014 Sherry Hamby. Permission is granted to use the PVS without fee with appropriate citation of original article.
... The 2007 Sexual Experiences Surveys (Short Forms Victimization and Perpetration: Koss et al., 2007) use a scaled response format of 0, 1, 2 ,3+; the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales uses a once, twice, 3-5 times, 6-10 times, 11-20 times, more than 20 times response format for the past year and then "not in the past year, but it did happen before" to assess past-year intimate partner violence (Straus et al., 1996). The Partner Victimization Scale, developed in part to correct some of the weaknesses of the Conflict Tactics Scales, uses fewer items and a simplified response format of "yes/no" (Bell et al., 2018). The Sexual Aggression and Victimization Scale one of the few questionnaires to be submitted to extensive cross-cultural development and testing uses a "never," "once," or "more than once" response format for each item although this has been simplified to yes/no in recent studies (Schuster et al., 2020). ...
... To our knowledge, only one prior experimental study has tested the impact of questionnaire response formats (Hamby et al., 2006) although, multiple studies assessing childhood sexual abuse (DiLillo et al., 2006), intimate partner violence (Bell et al., 2018), and sexual violence perpetration have suggested response formats may affect prevalence rates. Thus, the goal of this study is to conceptually replicate Hamby et al., (2006) but instead using sexual violence items from the Post-Refusal Sexual Persistence Scales (PRSPS: Struckman-Johnson et al., 2003). ...
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Objective: This study examined the impact of a dichotomous versus scaled response format on prevalence rates of sexual violence perpetration and victimization, thus conceptually replicating Hamby et al., 2006 and extending those findings to the context of sexual violence. Methods: Two samples were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk and were randomly assigned to either a dichotomous or scaled response format of the same questionnaire. Sample 1 was used to examine perpetration and received a perpetration specific version of the Post-Refusal Sexual Persistence Scale (PRSPS). Sample 2 was used to examine victimization and received a victimization specific version of the PRSPS. Results: Men and women who received the scaled response format reported significantly more incidents of sexual perpetration, and for each type of tactic studied, on the order of 1.7-9x more frequently. The association between response format condition and prevalence rates of sexual violence victimization was significant only for men (23.0 vs 39.4%) and for the tactic of verbal coercion (30.1 vs 41.5%), with the scaled response format producing greater responding. Conclusions: The response format of sexual violence items can significantly alter prevalence rates of sexual violence perpetration, with scaled response formats producing greater endorsements than dichotomous formats. Response format also appears to impact prevalence rates of sexual violence victimization, particularly for men.
... Clearly, women's self-reported violence exhibits less variance to account for than men's self-reports, and suggests more research is needed to identify and measure the ways in which women are violent in their relationships. Research on IPV is beginning to address this measurement issue by working to refine survey wording to measure the behavior of interest more accurately across genders (e.g., Bell et al., 2018;Hamby, 2016;Myhill, 2017), but our findings as well as others (de Vogel et al., 2019;Ménard et al., 2003;Ménard & Pincus, 2012;Schatzel-Murphy et al., 2009) suggest similar assessment revisions may be needed for all forms of interpersonal violence. This process may also be informed by research on aggression, which documents three types of aggression, direct, verbal, and indirect (also known as relational or social aggression, e.g., using manipulation, Archer & Coyne, 2005), and finds similar rates of verbal aggression across genders, but higher levels of indirect aggression by women and higher levels of direct or physical aggression by men (Björkqvist, 2018;Thomson et al., 2019). ...
This study examines the moderating effects of gender, child abuse, and pathological nar-cissism on self-reported stalking, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, and sexual aggression in undergraduate men and women. Child abuse was positively associated with engaging in all forms of interpersonal violence for both genders. For women, pathological narcissism moderated this association such that higher levels of pathological narcissism reduced the association between child abuse and engaging in stalking, sexual harassment , sexual aggression. For men. pathological narcissism exhibited independent positive associations with engagement in sexual harassment and sexual aggression and a negative association with engagement in intimate partner violence, but no moderating effects. These gender differences have important implications for the assessment of women's violence, and university violence prevention and advocacy programs.
... Gender is a construct that is expressed in many ways; unfortunately, most IPV research reports gender as binary, describing individuals as male or female and within heterosexual relationships. This work indicates that femaleidentified individuals endure a greater IPV burden than male-identified individuals, with emerging evidence finding high rates for people with other gender identities (Bell, Dinwiddie, & Hamby, 2018). Globally, 35 percent of women report physical or sexual abuse by an intimate partner (World Health Organization, 2013). ...
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The role of gender has received considerable attention in the academic literature on intimate partner violence (IPV). The Grand Challenges for Social Work take a gender-neutral approach, without regard to the influence of gender on adolescent development and dating relationships. This positioning is inconsistent with gender mainstreaming approaches that have been integrated into international framings of IPV. The purpose of this article is to conduct a qualitative interpretive meta-synthesis to investigate how gender is represented in research on adolescent dating abuse across qualitative literature (N = 17 articles). Results underscore that gender influences the impact of abuse, with female adolescents more likely to be fearful in relationships, at higher risk for damage to their social standing, and more likely to be blamed for the abuse. Gender-specific attitudes affect perceptions of the seriousness of abuse, antecedents of abuse, and rationales for perpetrating violence. Findings across the studies indicate that adolescents have internalized gender scripts. Therefore, strategies to prevent dating abuse need to be cognizant of the socializing role of gender and the myriad ways it influences adolescents' lived experiences. Therefore, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare should consider revising the language of the existing challenges to mainstream gender.
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Technical Report
Summary: The authors review existing knowledge about strengths-based approaches for boys and men of color. The broader goal is to contribute to the development of a research, program, and policy agenda based on the current state of scientific knowledge regarding the causes and appropriate interventions for violence, and the most effective ways to promote resilience. The authors also identify strengths and weaknesses of the scientific base, and provide a detailed description of the current state of violence programming for boys and men of color. Project Recommendations: Consider all-male programs instead of mixed-gender programs. Our data demonstrate that these programs report more positive results than mixed-gender programs. Perhaps boys and men feel more comfortable in, and therefore more likely to benefit from, all-male programs. Consider including content on redefining masculinity, overall well-being, and specific strengths. Although fewest in number, the programs focusing on redefining masculinity had the most consistently positive results. In terms of strengths and well-being, offering training or experiences in mindfulness, narrative, career development, or a range of strengths or general life skills appear to be relatively safe techniques. Consider offering male-specific programming in multiple settings. Although also few in number, programs that operated in multiple settings (such as school, community, and clinical) had the most consistently positive results. For example, if you work in schools, consider outreach to parents and families to reinforce the message that children are hearing in the school program. Creating a support system that extends throughout the program participants’ community may help participants benefit further from the program curriculum and apply program lessons to other aspects of their lives. Be cautious about adopting programs that focus on interpersonal relationships and cultural connectedness. Both of these types of content were associated with higher adverse effects. This may be related to underappreciated complexities. For example, strengthening family relationships could be problematic if the families in question also have problems with violence, addiction, or related issues. Ask yourself the following questions: Would this content still be helpful to the participant in the most dysfunctional family, school, or community setting? Or are you recommending strategies that depend on high-functioning social networks? Would this content still be helpful to the participant who is most different from the others in terms of race, ethnicity, country-of-origin, immigration status, religion, or other cultural characteristic? Or are you inadvertently imposing a majority-based strategy even within communities of color?
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Objective: Although many scholars have questioned, on a logical basis, the validity of the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS) to adequately measure intimate partner violence (IPV), relatively few critiques have used extensive empirical data gathered specifically for this purpose. This research analyzed these types of data to investigate an important mechanism of potential validity problems, IPV misreporting, by adding context questions to determine whether participants endorsed (as if actual IPV) accidents or other acts that neither party took seriously. The objective was to determine not only the extent to which this form of overreporting occurs but also how males and females differed in misreporting patterns. Method: Students from 1 U.S. and 1 Australian university (Total N = 1,758) completed a computer-administered survey. Multilevel logistic regression subsequently assessed the degree to which several factors predicted whether participants overreported CTS items. Results: Of the 1,174 event endorsements, 22.1% were classified as overreports. Whether males or females were more prone to overreporting, however, differed across event type, sample, age, relationship status, perpetration versus victimization, and current versus former partnerships. There were statistically significant interactions between gender and many of these factors. Among the most important of the findings was that males were more likely to overreport victimizations by female partners, whereas females were more likely to overreport perpetrations against male partners. Conclusions: The magnitude and intricate gendered nature of the overreporting problem imply that overreporting is a substantial problem, having the potential to negatively affect scale validity and thus the testing of partner-violence theories.
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Accurate definitions of phenomena are essential to any scientific enterprise. A definition of violence should be fully capable of accounting for the exclusion of behaviors such as accidents and self-defense, and the inclusion of behaviors such as child abuse, sexual offenses, and manslaughter. Violence research has produced numerous and sometimes conflicting definitions of violence that can be organized into 4 general camps: the exemplars approach, the social psychology approach, the public health approach, and the animal research approach. Each approach has strengths and limitations, but to fully distinguish violence from other behaviors requires incorporating elements from all of them. A comprehensive definition of violence includes 4 essential elements: behavior that is (a) intentional, (b) unwanted, (c) nonessential, and (d) harmful. More sophisticated recognition of some elements is needed. For example, shortened telomeres—a known consequence of child abuse—is a far more serious harm than a scratch or bruise that will fully heal in a few days. Many problems in the field are due at least in part to insufficient attention to definitions, such as minimization of sexual violence, bullying, and other behaviors that do not map onto prototypical exemplars. More precise definitions of violence can improve surveillance, promote more accurate identification of causes and consequences, enhance evaluation of treatment outcomes, and guide development of prevention programs, among other benefits.
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This reply addresses the key points raised by Straus as well as Jouriles and Kamata in their commentaries on Hamby (2016), including (a) that the Partner Victimization Scale (PVS) has already shown incremental validity because it has demonstrated a well-established form of validity, multimethod convergence, which some self-report measures cannot show, in addition to data on reliability and construct validity; (b) that it is not uncommon for new scientific technologies to lead to improvements in sensitivity as well as specificity, (c) that the PVS is a measure of intimate partner violence, not a measure of physical assault, which is why it also includes sexual violence (although gender parity is not found for the physical assault items); and (d) that the PVS does not refer to fear or any related terms. Additional data have replicated the PVS findings from Hamby’s Study 4, and new findings from other researchers have also shown that changes in item wording can bring intimate partner violence (IPV) self-report in line with other indicators regarding gender patterns. Of importance, the items on at least 2 of these methodologies, the PVS and the new Youth Risk Behavior Survey, increase disclosure of victimization by females. The conceptual basis for understanding how improved scientific technology can increase sensitivity and specificity is presented. It is an exciting time in IPV measurement because several alternatives that address the decades-old controversy in multimethod divergence in gender patterns are now available. It is hoped that more scientific innovation will occur in the future.
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This article addresses Winstok's critiques and comments on my review and analysis of the status of scientific information on intimate partner violence (IPV). I present some background on the development of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2), an analysis of issues related to the operationalization of gender symmetry in IPV, and an evaluation of the hypotheses put forth by Winstok and others to explain the multimethod divergence in estimates for IPV gender patterns. Happily, we know much more about IPV than we did at the time of the creation and publication of the CTS2 in the mid-1990s, and excellent data can be brought to bear on many of these hypotheses. A scientific evaluation indicates that these hypotheses do not explain all of the data showing multimethod divergence. In some cases, these hypotheses have been repeatedly disconfirmed. On the other hand, increasing amounts of data indicate that choices regarding the operationalization of IPV in surveys have a substantial impact on gender patterns. Fairly simply methodological modifications can improve multimethod convergence. Evidence-based suggestions for measures showing multimethod convergence are provided. The field needs to continue to invest in increasing the scientific precision of violence measures. © The Author(s) 2015.
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Objective: Gender patterns in intimate partner violence (IPV) remain a controversial topic. Some self-report measures produce gender “parity” in IPV rates. However, other self-report surveys do not produce gender parity, nor do arrests, reports to law enforcement, homicide data, helpseeking data, or witness reports. This methodological inconsistency is still poorly understood. The objective of these studies is to explore the effects of item wording on gender patterns for victimization reports in a range of samples. Method: In Study 1, 238 undergraduates were randomly assigned either the standard Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS) physical victimization items or a version which changed the partner-specific wording to generic wording (“Someone” instead of “My partner”), with perpetrator information collected in follow-up. Studies 2 and 3 compared the standard approach to items with stems intended to reduce false positives (either “Not including horseplay or joking around . . .” or “When my partner was angry . . .”), among 251 college students and 98 agency-involved women, respectively. Study 4 implemented the “not joking” alternative from Study 3 in a large rural community sample (n = 1,207). Results: In Studies 1 and 2, significant Wording × Gender analyses indicated that some item wordings yielded higher rates of female than male victimization. Study 3 showed similar patterns across forms for highly victimized women. Study 4 found higher female than male victimization for a new scale and every item. Conclusion: The CTS and similar behavioral checklists are unusual in their inattention to false positives. Self-report measures designed to minimize false positives produce results consistent with other IPV methodologies; that is, they do not demonstrate gender parity. The Partner Victimization Scale, described here, can be used when a scale that has multimethod convergence with other IPV methodologies is desired.
Objective: To conduct a gray literature systematic review of campus climate survey reports about sexual assault to compare the measurement of sexual assault and the degree to which colleges and universities followed White House Task Force guidance on how to implement these surveys. Method: We used two Internet search engines to identify campus climate survey reports that U.S. colleges and universities implemented on campuses among students between April 2014 and September 2016. Two researchers independently screened reports and assessed eligibility. Eligible reports had to include a prevalence or incidence estimate of sexual assault. Results: We identified 107 reports from 101 colleges and universities. Most schools conducted web-based surveys (63%) and used a census approach (64%). One-third of schools reported on all six Task Force-recommended survey topic areas. One-quarter of schools used the Task Force definition of sexual assault. Conclusions: Campus climate surveys are the first step in taking a public health approach to prevent sexual assault on campus; however, there needs to be a national mechanism to systematically identify survey reports and to standardize measures and reporting. Standardization would facilitate the creation of a national database that combines student- and campus-level data. Researchers and practitioners could use this database to understand the multilevel factors associated with sexual assault and campus climate to develop prevention strategies to inform national policy. Lessons learned and potential for future survey implementation could serve as a road map for universities internationally, which are beginning to measure campus sexual assault and implement prevention programs.
Objective: The Sexual Experiences Survey—Revised (SES-R) is considered the “gold standard” for screening for sexual victimization experiences in adults. However, research studies examining the psychometrics of this instrument are scant. This article examines response consistency among individuals endorsing a sexual victimization history on the SES-R, as well as examines the extent to which the SES-R yields true and false positives. Method: A total of 1,263 college students completed the SES-R victimization items online for course credit. A total of 189 individuals who endorsed having a sexual victimization history on the SES-R completed the measure online again after a period of 1–4 weeks, as well as provided a written description of their sexual victimization experience. Results: Consistency in responses to the SES-R was overall moderate (κs = .33–.69). Examination of the written descriptions provided suggested that 79.7% of endorsements on the SES-R reflected true positives and 20.2% represented false positives. However, agreement regarding the type of sexual victimization experienced between responses on the SES-R and written descriptions was moderate, with the strongest level of agreement among individuals who endorsed a completed rape history on the SES-R (60%). Conclusions: The SES-R is a useful tool for screening for sexual victimization history, but caution should be exercised when inferring both overall victimization rates as well as specific types of victimization based on SES-R responses alone. Several modifications to the SES-R item content and administration format could potentially reduce problems with response inconsistency and false positives.
We surveyed 525 graduate students (61.7% females and 38.3% males) regarding their exposure to sexual and gender-based harassing events. Thirty-eight percent of female and 23.4% of male participants self-reported that they had experienced sexual harassment from faculty or staff; 57.7% of female and 38.8% of male participants reported they had experienced sexual harassment from other students. We explored the relation between sexual harassment and negative outcomes (trauma symptoms, campus safety, and institutional betrayal) while also considering associations with other types of victimization (sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence) during graduate school. Our results update and extend prior research on sexual harassment of graduate students; graduate-level female students continue to experience significantly more sexual harassment from faculty, staff, and students than their male counterparts, and sexual harassment is significantly associated with negative outcomes after considering other forms of victimization. Leaders in the academic community and therapists can apply these findings in their work with sexually harassed students to destigmatize the experience, validate the harm, and work toward preventing future incidents.
National estimates of teen dating violence (TDV) reveal high rates of victimization among high school populations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's national Youth Risk Behavior Survey has provided often-cited estimates of physical TDV since 1999. In 2013, revisions were made to the physical TDV question to capture more serious forms of physical TDV and to screen out students who did not date. An additional question was added to assess sexual TDV. To describe the content of new physical and sexual TDV victimization questions first administered in the 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, to share data on the prevalence and frequency of TDV (including the first-ever published overall "both physical and sexual TDV" and "any TDV" national estimates using these new questions), and to assess associations of TDV experience with health-risk behaviors. Secondary data analysis of a cross-sectional survey of 9900 students who dated, from a nationally representative sample of US high school students, using the 2013 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Two survey questions separately assessed physical and sexual TDV; this analysis combined them to create a 4-level TDV measure and a 2-level TDV measure. The 4-level TDV measure includes "physical TDV only," "sexual TDV only," "both physical and sexual TDV," and "none." The 2-level TDV measure includes "any TDV" (either or both physical and sexual TDV) and "none." Sex-stratified bivariate and multivariable analyses assessed associations between TDV and health-risk behaviors. In 2013, among students who dated, 20.9% of female students (95% CI, 19.0%-23.0%) and 10.4% of male students (95% CI, 9.0%-11.7%) experienced some form of TDV during the 12 months before the survey. Female students had a higher prevalence than male students of physical TDV only, sexual TDV only, both physical and sexual TDV, and any TDV. All health-risk behaviors were most prevalent among students who experienced both forms of TDV and were least prevalent among students who experienced none (all P < .001). The 2013 TDV questions allowed for new prevalence estimates of TDV to be established that represent a more complete measure of TDV and are useful in determining associations with health-risk behaviors among youth exposed to these different forms of TDV.