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Psychol Rep. 1997 Apr;80(2):583-90.

College women who initiate assaults on their male partners and the reasons offered for such behavior.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, California State University, Long Beach 90840, USA.


Studies of spousal and dating violence indicate that women are as likely as men to assault their partners physically. This investigation examined the issue of the initiation of physical assaults by women on their male partners and the reasons offered for such behavior. Response from 978 female college women indicate that, within a 5-yr. period, 29% (n = 285) admitted to physical aggression against their male partners. Younger women in their 20's were significantly more likely to aggress physically than women who were 30 yr, and above. Women stated that they expressed aggression toward their male partners in part because they wished to engage their partner's attention, particularly emotionally. Also assaultive women did not believe that their male victims would be seriously injured or would retaliate.

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