Intimate partner violence victim and perpetrator characteristics among couples in the United States

Raul Caetano, Patrice A C Vaeth, Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


This paper describes the characteristics (sociodemographic, drinking and selected psychological attributes) of victims, perpetrators and those who engage in mutual intimate partner violence (IPV) among couples in the U.S. Subjects constitute a multistage area probability sample representative of married and cohabiting couples from the 48 contiguous United States. Results indicate that age is the only variable that appears to have a consistent effect for men and women and across violence-related statuses: Older individuals are less likely to be victims, perpetrators and less likely to be involved in mutually violent relationships. Other variables such as ethnicity, marital status, drinking, impulsivity, depression and powerlessness are either gender or status-specific in their ability to predict victimization, perpetration or victimization/ perpetration. Overall, those involved in violent relationships do not appear to be very different from those not involved in violent relationships. The most likely reason for lack of this difference is the nature of IPV in general population samples, which is in most cases moderate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-518
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Intimate partner violence
  • National sample
  • Perpetration
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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