Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 495–508 | Cite as

Is Psychological Abuse Reciprocal in Intimate Relationships? Data from a National Sample of American Adults

Original Article

Abstract

A national sample of adults in the United States reported on presence, frequency, emotional impact, and behavioral impact of psychologically abusive behaviors in their “worst” cohabiting relationship by their partner as well as by themselves. In addition, they completed instrumentation measuring potential outcomes from much psychological maltreatment. Results from the online survey indicated that psychological abuse of an egregious nature was highly reciprocal, although overall, respondents reported that they engaged in psychological abuse less frequently than their partners and believed that their partners experienced much less negative impact from the respondents’ actions. Specific categories of psychological abuse as well as specific behaviors were also highly likely to be reciprocated. Combinations of high and low psychological abuse exhibited by the respondent and his/her partner resulted in negative outcomes whenever the partner was high in psychological abuse whether or not the respondent used these egregious tactics.

Keywords

Psychological abuse Intimate partner violence Psychological aggression Reciprocal abuse 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Research on Violence Against WomenUniversity of Kentucky Department of PsychiatryLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUK Medical CollegeLexingtonUSA

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