Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 91–106 | Cite as

Examining Symmetry in Intimate Partner Violence Among Young Adults Using Socio-Demographic Characteristics

  • Lynette M. RennerEmail author
  • Stephen D. Whitney
Original Article


Over the past few decades, research on symmetry in intimate partner violence (IPV) has continued to yield mixed results. This article examines symmetry in the prevalence of four types of IPV perpetration and victimization based on socio-demographic characteristics of gender, race, relationship status, sexual orientation, age, and socioeconomic status. Socio-demographic characteristics are examined individually and in combination based on subgroups of unidirectional (perpetration-only and victimization-only) and bidirectional IPV using a nationally representative sample of young adults. Results indicate nearly 40% of the study sample reported at least one act of intimate partner violence and the majority of relationships involved bidirectional violence. Study findings reveal a lack of symmetry on some types of IPV based on the individual and combined socio-demographic characteristics of age, race, and gender. Overall findings show IPV to be prevalent in the relationships of young adults and implications for primary prevention programs are discussed.


Intimate partner violence Sex symmetry Relationship violence Domestic violence Dating violence Partner violence 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational, School, & Counseling PsychologyUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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