Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 31, Issue 8, pp 999–1003 | Cite as

It is and it is not: the Importance of Context when Exploring Gender Differences in Perpetration of Physical Partner Violence

  • Nicole L. Johnson
  • Samantha C. Holmes
  • Dawn M. JohnsonEmail author
Original Article


The literature on gender differences in perpetration of physical partner violence (PV) consists of two opposing camps: those who emphasize gender symmetry, and those who emphasize gender asymmetry. We propose a both/and approach to this controversy by suggesting that the issue of gender symmetry is complex and dependent upon context. Furthermore, we discuss how the role of personal investment in political agendas contributes to this divide in the literature. We argue that this both/and approach to inquiry will significantly contribute to the understanding of gender differences in perpetration of PV, as well inform the development of interventions for PV.


Partner violence Gender symmetry Gender differences Feminist theory 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.



Conflict of Interest

All authors declare that they have no competing interests


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole L. Johnson
    • 1
  • Samantha C. Holmes
    • 2
  • Dawn M. Johnson
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Education and Human ServicesLehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe University of AkronAkronUSA

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