Sex Roles

, Volume 35, Issue 7–8, pp 507–519

Domestic violence, gender, and perceptions of justice

  • N. T. Feather
Brief Report


This study investigated reactions to a hypothetical scenario describing a domestic dispute that ended in violence. In the scenario either the husband or the wife was the perpetrator of the physical violence, the violence either occurred under stress or after deliberation, and the perpetrator was subsequently jailed for 2 years. Results from 220 participants (109 males, 111 females) from metropolitan Adelaide, South Australia, showed significant main effects of stimulus person. Participants were more negative to the husband than to the wife in regard to responsibility for the offense, deservingness of the penalty, seriousness of the offense, perceived harshness of the penalty, reported positive affect, and reported sympathy. These main effects were qualified by interaction effects involving stimulus person (husband, wife) and situation (stress, deliberation), and stimulus person and gender of participant. The results suggested that there were different patterns of belief about the dynamics of domestic violence as well as a degree of in-group or same gender favoritism when female participants responded to the scenario involving the wife.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. T. Feather
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe Flinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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