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J Fam Violence. 2012 Feb;27(2):115-122.

The relationship between egalitarianism, dominance, and violence in intimate relationships.

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Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH.


The aim of this study was to understand the relationship between egalitarianism, dominance, and intimate partner violence within the context of couples' dynamics. In particular, it was hypothesized that dominance and sexist attitudes would have both self and partner effects on relationship aggression. To test this hypothesis, gender role egalitarianism, dominance/control, sexism, power dynamics, and aggression were assessed using several measures. Questionnaires for these measures were completed by 87 heterosexual dyads. The relationship between female and male scores on the dominance, egalitarianism, sexism, and intimate partner violence scales were examined using Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM). Findings indicated that the APIM model provided a satisfactory fit to the data(). For both sexes, dominance had more explanatory power than sexism and egalitarianism when all else was controlled in the model. Furthermore, contrary to our expectation, male egalitarian attitude had no significant actor or partner effect on relationship aggression, while female egalitarian attitude had significant actor and partner effects on relationship aggression. Dyadic analysis indicated that cultural pointers of patriarchy, such as egalitarianism among young college students, were not associated with male-to-female violence. The sample size might also have an effect on this result in that a larger sample with older participants might yield different results.

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