Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 149-160

First online:

Marital Satisfaction and Marital Discord as Risk Markers for Intimate Partner Violence: A Meta-analytic Review

  • Sandra M. StithAffiliated withFamily Studies and Human Services, 101 Campus Creek Drive, Kansas State University Email author 
  • , Narkia M. GreenAffiliated withVirginia Polytechnic Institution and State University
  • , Douglas B. SmithAffiliated withTexas Tech University
  • , David B. WardAffiliated withPacific Lutheran University

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A meta-analysis investigating the relationship between marital satisfaction/discord and intimate partner violence (IPV) in heterosexual relationships was conducted with 32 articles. Overall, a small-to-moderate effect size (r = −0.27) indicated a significant and negative relationship existed between marital satisfaction/discord and IPV. Moderator analyses found no differences between effect size based on construct examined (discord or satisfaction). However, the magnitudes of observed effect sizes were influenced by other moderator variables, including the use of standardized versus non-standardized measures, gender of the offender and victim, role in the violence (perpetrator versus victim), and sample type (clinical versus community). The data suggests that gender is an especially important moderator variable in understanding the relationship between marital satisfaction/discord and IPV.


Marital satisfaction Marital discord Risk markers Intimate partner violence Gender Meta-analysis