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Perceived Verbal Conflict Behaviors Associated with Physical Aggression and Sexual Coercion in Dating Relationships: A Gender-Sensitive Analysis

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 17 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2002 Pages: 93-109
Jennifer Katz; Andrew Carino; Angela Hilton
Date Published
17 pages
The study investigated the relationship between perceived partner verbal behaviors vis-à-vis dating violence.
Intimate aggression has traditionally been studied from the perspective of male-to-female perpetration in heterosexual couples. Researchers who take a gender-sensitive approach to researching intimate aggression consider the social context of gender and differences in social power between women and men. In Western society, men tend to be socialized to maintain high autonomy whereas women are socialized to maintain connectedness. Hence, in conflict situations, men tend to avoid conflict and women tend to seek solutions. Therefore, if women perceive their partner to be withdrawing, women may use aggression to get their attention. The results of this study revealed that men engaged in more physical aggression and sexual coercion when women were perceived to be too demanding. Conversely, women's aggression was not reliably associated with their partners' behavior. Future observational research studies could tell us more about the circumstances under which aggression is employed by both women and men in intimate relationships. Naturally, it is much harder to study sexual coercion using this technique. Lastly, future researchers could investigate the perceptions of partner behaviors in aggressive versus non-aggressive individuals. This is also an important area of research given the large body of research regarding gender differences in perception. It is worth noting that the researchers caution readers about concluding that women cause men to be aggressive by engaging in controlling, demanding, or psychologically abusive behaviors. Each person has the ability to control his or her actions. Tables, notes, and references


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