Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 63–76 | Cite as

Patterns of physical and sexual abuse for men and women in dating relationships: A descriptive analysis

  • Jan E. Stets
  • Maureen A. Pirog-Good


A random sample of students at a large Midwestern University was selected in order to examine whether and how physical and sexual abuse were related to each other for men and women, whether abuse in one relationship was independent of abuse in other relationships, and how victims responded to abusive incidents. The results revealed several important patterns. When comparing the frequency of physical and sexual abuse for men and women, it was found that sexual abuse was more common than physical abuse, but only for women. Additionally, women experienced more sexual abuse than men. While men and women did not experience physical abuse in other relationships at more than chance levels, women who sustained sexual abuse in one relationship were more likely to sustain sexual abuse in other relationships. Furthermore, while sustaining physical and sexual abuse were not associated with one another for men, there was a weak association for women. Finally, victims of abuse were more likely to tell their friends they had been abused than report it to criminal justice authorities.

Key words

physical and sexual abuse dating relationships 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan E. Stets
    • 1
  • Maureen A. Pirog-Good
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyWashington State UniversityPullman
  2. 2.School of Public and Environmental AffairsIndiana UniversityBloomington

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