Patterns of Violence Against Women: Different Etiology or Difference Risk Factor?

Candace Kruttschnitt, University of Minnesota
Kristin C. Carbone, University of Minnesota
Ross MacMillan, University of Minnesota

Efforts to explain vioolence are heavily dependent on specific way in which violence is conceptualized. Yet, the vast majority of victimization research focuses only on discrete acts which ignores the possibility that victimization is patterned and thus occurs in systematic ways. This is particularly problematic in the study of violence against women. Here, it has long been suggested that women's victimization occurs in systematic ways, over time and across relationships and types of violence. Yet, little research has actually examined this issue. Through analysis of the NVAWS data, we address this limitation by 1) modeling victimization to determine whether distinct patterns exist and what they look like; and 2) examining factors that predict the likelihood of experiencing these distinct forms of victimization. In doing so, we articulate a structural-biographical approach to the study of victimization and examine the important theoretical question of whether patterns of victimization have distinct etiologies or whether they reflect specific, unique risk factors. Implications are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006