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Violence Vict. 2005 Aug;20(4):393-406.

Unidirectional and bidirectional intimate partner violence among White, Black, and Hispanic couples in the United States.

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  • 1University of Texas Houston School of Public Health, Dallas Campus, Dallas, TX, USA.


This article describes the rates and risk factors of unidirectional and bidirectional intimate partner violence (IPV) among White, Black and Hispanic couples in the US. Subjects constitute a multistage area probability sample representative of married and cohabiting couples from the 48 contiguous United States. Results indicate that most couples reporting violence engage in bidirectional IPV. Blacks are more likely than Whites to report bidirectional IPV. In addition, severe unidirectional and bidirectional IPV are more common among Blacks and Hispanics. The results also indicate that predictors of IPV vary depending on whether it is unidirectional or bidirectional. Unidirectional female-to-male IPV and bidirectional IPV are more associated with the characteristics of the female. In contrast, the occurrence of unidirectional male-to-female IPV is associated with a single risk factor, male childhood physical abuse. These findings highlight the importance of distinguishing different types of IPV and have important epidemiological and prevention implications.

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