American Journal of Criminal Justice

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 146–162 | Cite as

College Women’s Experiences of Dating Violence in Casual and Exclusive Relationships

  • Catherine Kaukinen
  • Angela R. Gover
  • Jennifer L. Hartman


Using a sample of female college students involved in a current dating relationship, we investigate the nature of violence in these intimate relationships to better understand the concept of violence mutuality. To do so we explore womens’ experiences with violence as both perpetrators and victims and examine the prevalence, chronicity, and severity of violence experienced by young women. We also examine whether there are differences in experiences of violence for women in casual versus exclusive dating relationships. Our findings suggest that when violence is present in a dating relationship it is likely to occur within a mutually violent relationship where women are both victims and perpetrators of violence. More importantly, within these mutually violent relationships, women reported being more likely to perpetrate violence at higher rates than they experience as victims. We find no notable differences in experiences with violence among those in casual versus exclusive relationships. The methodological limitations and policy implications of our findings are discussed.


College dating violence Overlap in victimization and offending Mutuality of violence Prevalence and chronicity of dating violence Relationship status 


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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Kaukinen
    • 1
  • Angela R. Gover
    • 2
  • Jennifer L. Hartman
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Public AffairsUniversity of Colorado Colorado SpringsColorado SpringsUSA
  2. 2.School of Public AffairsUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA
  3. 3.Department of Criminal Justice and CriminologyUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteCharlotteUSA

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