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Psychol Bull. 2000 Sep;126(5):681-4.

Violence in close relationships--development of a research area: comment on Archer (2000)

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  • Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA. frieze@pitt.edu


A brief history of empirical research on violence in close relationships is presented. Assumptions of and conclusions made by feminist researchers about the problems of battered wives are reviewed. It is argued that their focus on marital violence as a form of aggression against women by men and their concern for severely beaten wives may have caused them to ignore high levels of female violence in marriage and dating. J. Archer's (2000) meta-analysis of studies of marital and dating violence showed that both sexes display violence in these relationships, although women are more likely to be injured. An expansion of Archer's definition of heterosexual violence (or violence in close relationships) to include sexual aggression and stalking is suggested. Reasons for relatively high levels of female violence in close relationships relative to violence toward strangers are briefly discussed. It is argued that more attention needs to be given to male victims of violence from their partners.

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