Using Dyadic Concordance Types to Understand Frequency of Intimate Partner Violence

Denise A. Hines, Murray A. Straus, Emily M. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Findings regarding women's perpetration of physical partner violence (PV) and bidirectional PV are a major source of controversy in the family violence literature. Questions remain as to how frequently women use PV, in comparison to men, when they are the sole perpetrators of PV and when involved in bidirectionally violent relationships. We also do not know much about women's perpetration and the bidirectionality of nonphysical forms of PV. To answer these questions, we used dyadic concordance types to categorize couples into bidirectionally violent, male-only violent, and female-only violent, and then analyzed the frequency with which the men and women used violence. We conducted these analyses for physical PV, verbal sexual PV, severe psychological PV, and controlling behaviors, among a population-based sample of 1,601 men, ages 18–59, who reported ever having a romantic relationship with a woman. Results indicated that for physical PV, severe psychological PV, and controlling behaviors, bidirectional PV was the most common, followed by female-only perpetration. Within bidirectionally aggressive relationships, women committed significantly more physical PV and controlling behaviors; there were no sex differences in frequency of PV perpetration for these three forms of PV for male-only versus female-only PV. The exception to this pattern was verbal sexual aggression, with men committing significantly more of these acts and male-only perpetration just as common as bidirectional aggression. Bidirectionally aggressive relationships were also the most aggressive. These findings lend support to a family systems perspective when seeking to understand PV and for assessing both victimization and perpetration when investigating PV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-97
Number of pages22
JournalPartner Abuse
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • bidirectional partner violence
  • controlling behaviors
  • domestic violence
  • mutual partner violence
  • psychological aggression
  • sexual aggression


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