Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 101–111 | Cite as

Observed Initiation and Reciprocity of Physical Aggression in Young, At-Risk Couples

  • Deborah M. CapaldiEmail author
  • Hyoun K. Kim
  • Joann Wu Shortt
Original Article


The present study examined sex differences in initiation of physical aggression as observed during discussion tasks and in the likelihood of a similar response from the partner. In addition, patterns for men and women in the prevalence of aggression initiation and partner reciprocation across 4 time points spanning approximately 9 years from late adolescence through the mid-20s are examined, as well as overall associations with reported aggression and injuries. Findings indicated that the young women were more likely than the men to initiate physical aggression at late adolescence. However, by the mid-20s in early adulthood there were no significant sex differences in initiation rates. The average rates of reciprocation across the 4 time points appeared to be similar for men and women. Women and men appeared more likely to report injuries if the couples observed involved mutual physical aggression in their interactions.


Observed physical aggression Initiation Reciprocation Injury 



The Cognitive, Social and Affective Development, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) provided support for the Couples Study (HD 46364). Additional support was provided by Grant MH 37940 from the Antisocial and Other Personality Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), U.S. PHS; Grant DA 051485 from the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Branch, NIDA, and Cognitive, Social, and Affective Development, NICHD, NIH, U.S. PHS; and Grant MH 46690 from the Prevention, Early Intervention, and Epidemiology Branch, NIMH, and Office of Research on Minority Health, U.S. PHS.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah M. Capaldi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hyoun K. Kim
    • 1
  • Joann Wu Shortt
    • 1
  1. 1.Oregon Social Learning CenterEugeneUSA

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