Conflict and control: gender symmetry and asymmetry in domestic violence

Violence Against Women. 2006 Nov;12(11):1003-18. doi: 10.1177/1077801206293328.


Four types of individual partner violence are identified based on the dyadic control context of the violence. In intimate terrorism, the individual is violent and controlling, the partner is not. In violent resistance, the individual is violent but not controlling; the partner is the violent and controlling one. In situational couple violence, although the individual is violent, neither the individual nor the partner is violent and controlling. In mutual violent control, the individual and the partner are violent and controlling. Evidence is presented that situational couple violence dominates in general surveys, intimate terrorism and violent resistance dominate in agency samples, and this is the source of differences across studies with respect to the gender symmetry of partner violence. An argument is made that if we want to understand partner violence, intervene effectively in individual cases, or make useful policy recommendations, we must make these distinctions in our research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Battered Women / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Research Design
  • Sex Offenses / psychology*
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • United States
  • Women's Health*