Examining gender differences in the nature and context of intimate partner violence

Hyunkag Cho
Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2012, 27 (13): 2665-84
Many studies have been conducted on gender differences in intimate partner violence (IPV), producing inconsistent results. Some studies report that men were victimized by IPV as much as women were, whereas others find that IPV was predominantly perpetrated by men against women. The nature and context of IPV may be crucial to understanding gender differences in IPV, but national data collections do not regularly report on this information. This study expects to fill this gap by using nationally representative data to examine differences in the nature and context of IPV between male and female perpetrators. This study uses the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys (CPES). Descriptive statistics for each gender are first obtained (n = 2,190). A discriminant analysis is used with gender as a grouping variable, including only perpetrators of IPV (n = 236). The independent variables are age, race, education, employment, financial security, frequency and severity of IPV, controlling behaviors, and the initiator of physical arguments. The study findings suggest that women and men do not vary much in the prevalence, frequency, and severity of IPV, controlling behaviors, or the initiation of physical arguments. They also suggest that those variables are rather weak in differentiating IPV against men from IPV against women. Since the study revealed some gender differences in IPV and, at the same time, encountered methodological difficulties in convincingly showing them as real gender differences, more research is clearly needed.

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