Are There Gender Differences in Sustaining Dating Violence? An Examination of Frequency, Severity, and Relationship Satisfaction
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One topic of debate within the field of intimate violence involves the equivalence, or lack thereof, of male-perpetrated versus female-perpetrated violence. To inform this debate, we examined potential gender-related differences in the frequency of sustaining violence, the severity of violence sustained, and effects of violence on relationship satisfaction. Data were collected from 2 samples of heterosexual undergraduates in dating relationships. In both studies, men and women experienced violence at comparable frequencies, although men experienced more frequent moderate violence. Rates of severe violence were extremely low for both sexes across studies. In both investigations, only women experienced lower relationship satisfaction as a function of partner violence. In Study 1, relationship status moderated this effect, such that women in serious dating relationships were less satisfied than either women in less serious relationships or than men as a function of partner violence. In Study 2, women were less satisfied with violent relationships than men regardless of relationship status. We contend that gender-sensitive approaches to relationship violence are important to better understand and prevent both male- and female-perpetrated violence. Directions for future research efforts are outlined.
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