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J Fam Violence. 2013 May 1;28(4):403-418.

The Cross-Cultural Association Between Marital Status and Physical Aggression Between Intimate Partners.

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  • 1Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Ontario, Canada.


Some research suggests that the risk of physical aggression by an intimate partner is related to marital status, but this relationship may vary across cultures and by gender. In the present study, we systematically examine the relationship between marital status and physical partner aggression by gender across 19 countries. Logistic and multilevel regression confirmed previous findings of lower rates of physical aggression for legally married versus cohabiting and separated/divorced women and men across most, but notably, not all countries. Single status was associated with higher risk in some countries and lower in others reflecting possible cultural differences in risk for different marital statuses. For example, single women had significantly lower rates of victimization than did married women in India where violence against wives is often accepted. The variation in the cross-cultural findings highlights the importance of examining both men and women and considering the cultural context when interpreting the relationship between partner aggression and marital status.


IPV; cohabit; country; divorce; gender; perpetration; single; victimization

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