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Does the Inclusion Criterion of Women's Aggression as Opposed to Their Victimization Result in Samples That Differ on Key Dimensions of Intimate Partner Violence?

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2010 Pages: 84-98
Date Published
January 2010
15 pages

This study examined whether research on intimate partner violence (IPV), using a sample inclusion criterion of women's aggression versus their victimization resulted in different distributions of demographic characteristics and measures of physical, sexual, and psychological IPV and injury in these two sample types.


The study found that an inclusion criterion based on physical aggression or victimization did not produce unique samples of "aggressors" and "victims." When independent samples of African-American women participated in separate studies based on either an inclusion criterion of women's physical aggression or victimization in IPV, between-groups comparisons showed that the samples did not differ in physical, sexual, or psychological aggression; physical, sexual or psychological victimization; or inflicted or sustained injury. The study showed that the two samples of women were more similar to each other than previously expected, in that the two groups had similar demographic characteristics and profiles of IPV. The findings suggest that researchers may need to consider different assumptions when interpreting IPV study results; for example, when women's aggression is used as the inclusion criterion of a study, researchers might assume that the research findings indicate that women who are more aggressive compared to women who are more victimized should be generalized to women who are aggressive only. Given the findings of the current study, however, the findings for the aggressors may be generalized to both aggressors and victims, because the samples were drawn from a single population of women involved in relationships characterized by IPV. One of the samples in the current study consisted of 150 African-American women who had used at least one physically aggressive behavior against a male partner within the past 6 months. The other sample consisted of 128 African-American women who had been physically victimized by a male partner within the past 6 months. 3 tables, 6 notes, and 33 references

Date Published: January 1, 2010