The differences between men and women's violence
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The theory of the intergenerational transmission of partner violence has long been the accepted explanation for partner violence. The metasystemic theory of the Ackerman Institute for the Family is utilized to explore gender-symmetry and the role of acceptance of violence in the intergenerational transmission of partner violence. This study examines the couples’ intake data from a multi-couple treatment group for intimate partner violence at Virginia Tech (see Stith, Rosen, & McCullum, 2003). From the study’s participants, a total sample was selected of N=248. The data was organized into 124 couples: 124 males, and 124 females. Intake data included information regarding family of origin violence; the Conflict Tactics Scales-2 (Straus et al., 1996); and two scales for acceptance of violence modified from the Inventory of Beliefs about Wife Beating (Saunders et al., 1997). Data analysis was conducted to compare men and women’s partner violence in regards to prevalence or chronicity. Also, the relationships between family of origin violence, acceptance of violence, and current partner violence were explored. Self-reports of physical assault partner violence were comparable between men and women. However, males self-report more psychological aggression than their female partners do. Similarly, males reported significantly more injury of their partners than female participants did. When subjects reported on their partner’s behavior there was a statistically significant difference between men’s severe physical assault and women’s severe physical assault. 65% of the couples in the sample reported mutual violence. For both males and females violence toward men was more acceptable than violence toward women at p<.001. For males there was a significant relationship between acceptance of violence toward women and the severity of self-reports of physical assault. There was also a significant relationship between acceptance of violence toward men and self-reports of physical assault for men. There was no relationship between acceptance of violence and severity of violence for females. Finally, for males, there was a statistically significant relationship between family of origin violence and self-reports for physical violence, p=.003. There was no relationship between family of origin violence and physical violence for females. Implications for marriage and family therapy are discussed.