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Pers Soc Psychol Rev. 2006;10(2):133-53.

Cross-cultural differences in physical aggression between partners: a social-role analysis.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom.


In developed western nations, both sexes commit acts of physical aggression against their partners. Data from 16 nations showed that this pattern did not generalize to all nations. The magnitude and direction of the sex difference was highly correlated with national-level variations in gender empowerment and individualism-collectivism. As gender equality and individualism increased, the sex difference in partner violence moved in the direction of lesser female victimization and greater male victimization. A second analysis of 52 nations showed that 3 indexes of women's victimization were also inversely correlated with gender equality and individualism. Sexist attitudes and relative approval of wife beating were also associated with women's victimization rates, but general levels of violent crime were not. The findings are discussed in terms of a social role approach to variations in sex differences between cultures.

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