Prevalence and stability of physical aggression between spouses: a longitudinal analysis

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1989 Apr;57(2):263-8. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.57.2.263.


Community couples (N = 272) were assessed in a longitudinal study of early marriage. More women than men reported physically aggressing against their partners at premarriage (44% vs. 31%) and 18 months (36% vs. 27%). At 30 months, men and women did not report significantly different rates of aggression (32% vs. 25%). However, using either the self-report or the partner's report, the prevalence of aggression was higher for women than men at each assessment period. Modal forms of physical aggression for both men and women were pushing, shoving, and slapping. Conditional probability analyses indicated that the likelihood of physically aggressing at 30 months given that one had engaged in such aggression before marriage and at 18 months after marriage was .72 for women and .59 for men. Furthermore, 25-30% of the recipients of physical aggression at all three assessment periods were seriously maritally discordant at 30 months.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • New York
  • Psychological Tests
  • Spouse Abuse / epidemiology*