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Psychology of Women's Partner Violence: Characteristics and Cautions

NCJ Number
Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma Volume: 18 Issue: 6 Dated: September 2009 Pages: 587-603
Nicola Graham-Kevan
Date Published
September 2009
This article provides an overview of research on women's partner violence (PV) as well as the literature that investigates the development pathway to women's aggressive behavior.
Research reveals that women who use physical aggression toward a male partner cannot be routinely excused as victims fighting back. It also highlights a tendency within the PV literature toward "special pleading" in regard to women's aggression. This distorts the literature and misinforms practice. Longitudinal studies are probably best placed to inform on predictors and consequences of partner violence involvement, and evidence from them suggest that women and men who are involved as perpetrators and victims might have multiple problems, including suffering from psychopathology. Denying such problems and instead offering simplistic, ideologically based assessments such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was not helpful to these women or their victims. Research suggests that interventions must address psychological risk factors such as negative emotionality and impulsivity to adequately understand and successfully treat PV. References