Sex Roles

, Volume 24, Issue 5–6, pp 261–278 | Cite as

The maleness of violence in dating relationships: an appraisal of stereotypes

  • Edward H. ThompsonJr.


This study clarifies and adds to our understanding of how gender and gender orientation affect physical aggression in dating relationships. The stereotype of male violence assumes that men exclusively or nearly exclusively use abusive and violent behavior to manage conflict situations with an intimate partner, and that the more violent men will be more masculine. Data from a sample of 336 undergraduates indicate that the expected sex differences were not observed; among college students, physical aggression in dating relationships is not gender-specific. However, gender orientation was significantly related to courtship aggression. A more masculine and/or less feminine gender orientation and variations in relationship seriousness proved to be the two strongest predictors of both men's and women's involvement in courtship violence. Findings are discussed in terms of the masculine mystique and the male role norms in our culture's superstructure.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward H. ThompsonJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyHoly Cross CollegeWorcester

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