Intimate partner violence: An in-depth analysis of context and dynamics




Deveau, Lindsay N.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



It was not until the 1970s that intimate partner violence was recognized as a significant social problem, and advocates, researchers, and the U.S. Congress worked to shed light on problems associated with intimate partner violence. Since then, research has focused on developing theories to explain the violence that occurs within the home. Two main theoretical approaches have emerged in the literature. The first perspective, the feminist perspective, argues that violence is asymmetrical, meaning that men are the primary aggressors and women the victims in intimate partner violence situations. Second, the family violence perspective argues that violence is gender symmetrical, meaning that both males and females are using aggressive tactics with approximately the same prevalence rate. The stark contrast between the two perspectives and the contradictory findings on gender differences in use of violence may be due to different methodological approaches used to investigate violence. Feminist research utilizes qualitative samples of female victims of violence, whereas family violence researchers primarily utilize quantitative surveys to understand violence in general population samples. Johnson’s (1995) response to these differences was to create a new typology that identifies four types of intimate partner violence: intimate terrorism, situational couple violence, violent resistance, and mutual violent control. Although his typology provides further explanation of intimate partner violence and the debate surrounding gender symmetry, little research has been conducted to provide support that these typologies are distinct and non-overlapping forms of violence. Despite decades of research, there is still debate regarding the role of gender in intimate partner violence situations. To date, however, studies collecting context-rich qualitative data for both males and females in the general population are non-existent. Johnson (2010) believes that in order to make distinctions among intimate partner violence types, mixed methodological approaches need to be used to study partner violence. The current study used a mixed-methodological approach designed to illuminate the contexts within which both males and females use and sustain violence in their intimate relationships. Several similarities and differences were found in the quantitative analysis portion of this dissertation between male and female victims and offenders in the general population. The contexts and dynamics with interviewees provided further distinctions among types of partner violence.



Intimate partner violence, Gender symmetry/asymmetry, Intimate terrorism, Situational couple violence, Non-violent control tactics


Deveau, L. N. (2019). <i>Intimate partner violence: An in-depth analysis of context and dynamics</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI