Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Criminology

Major Professor

Christine Sellers, PhD.

Keywords

Domestic, Intimate partner, Power and control, Symmetry, Non-violent control

Abstract

This study sought to further build on previous empirical findings regarding Johnsons theory that the gender symmetry debate can at least be partially resolved by acknowledging that two distinct subgroups of physical violence exist within intimate partner violence: Intimate Terrorism (IT) and Situational Couple Violence (SCV). According to Johnsons predictions these separate groups can be distinguished by the use of non-violent control tactics. This study focused on testing the ability of non-violent control tactics to predict the frequency and severity of violence within the sub-group intimate terrorism. It further explored Johnsons assertion that intimate terrorism is gender asymmetric with females experiencing a greater amount of victimization. Previous studies demonstrated moderate support that two subgroups do exist within intimate partner violence and that intimate terrorism may be asymmetrical.

However, only one of the previous studies included a male sample that was not reflective of the general population. This study will test the gender asymmetry of intimate terrorism by using both a male and female sub-sample form the National Violence Against Women Survey. This studies sample consisted of males and females reporting at least on incident of physical violence by either their current spouse or cohabitating heterosexual partner. The statistical analysis showed moderate support that there are two subgroups within intimate partner violence that can be distinguished by the use of non-violent control tactics. It also demonstrated that for the subgroup intimate terrorism there are some differences across gender when examining severity and frequency of violence. However, only a small amount of the variance in intimate terrorism can be explained by non-violent control tactics.

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