U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Perceptions of Motives in Intimate Partner Violence: Expressive Versus Coercive Violence

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 22 Issue: 5 Dated: 2007 Pages: 563-576
John Hamel MSW; Sarah L. Desmarais; Tonia L. Nicholls
Date Published
14 pages
This study examined perceptions of motives in the perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV).
Results provide empirical support for the existence of a gender bias within the field of domestic violence to minimize intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrated by women. That is, given the same set of facts, domestic violence professionals rated male-perpetrated violence as more coercive and intentional and female-perpetrated violence as more expressive. To the extent that expressive motives are supported to indicate a lesser threat, female-perpetrated IPV is therefore assumed to be less serious than male-perpetrated IPV. As a result, the issue of motives in IPV appears to be a complicated one, not amenable to simple answers. The purpose of this study was to compare the degree to which expressive and coercive motives were attributed to IPV perpetrated by men and women in a variety of contexts. It was hypothesized that female perpetrators would be judged to have a higher proportion of expressive motivation. However, perceptions were expected to differ by respondent gender. The study sample consisted of 401 males and females, primarily mental health professionals. Figures, notes, references and appendix