An Exploratory Analysis of Motivations for Use of Physical Aggression in Intimate Relationships

Kathryn A. Branch, University of South Florida
Christine S. Sellers, University of South Florida

Research on intimate partner violence has lately begun to address the reasons or motivations behind the use of physical aggression. However, the exploration of gender differences in motivation for use of physical violence in intimate relationships has not been well developed. Most efforts have focused on self-defense as the primary motive of women and need for control as the primary motive of men. Using a sample of 526 students who have used physical aggression in current or previous marital or dating relationships, we investigate gender differences in both internal and external motivations for intimate partner violence and attempt to account for observed differences and similarities.

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Updated 05/20/2006