The Effect of Gender of Perpetrator and Victim on Perceptions of Psychological and Physical Intimate Partner Aggression

Georgina S. Hammock, Deborah S. Richardson, Kenneth Brock Lamm, Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Verlaque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Most studies of third-party perceptions of intimate partner violence focus on heterosexual relationships and report that male-to-female aggression is perceived more negatively than female-to-male. Since gender of aggressor and gender of victim are consistently confounded in these portrayals, it is not clear whether the gender of the aggressor or the gender of the victim accounts for the effect. The present research manipulated gender of perpetrator and victim to unravel this confound. Two hundred and fifty one participants (166 females) read scenarios involving psychological or physical aggression between two males, two females, or a male and a female. Participants reported their perceptions of the encounter and the character and emotional reactions of the individual couple members. Physical aggression was evaluated more negatively than psychological aggression. Participants evaluated the encounter and the perpetrator and victim in a manner consistent with stereotypical gender roles, revealing more concern for female than male victims and greater denigration of male than female perpetrators. These results have implications for programs aimed at the reduction of intimate partner violence and the services and programs developed for perpetrators and victims.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-365
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Gender stereotypes
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Physical aggression
  • Psychological aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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