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Keywords:

  • intimate partner violence;
  • college;
  • alcohol;
  • drugs

Abstract

Cross-sectional and longitudinal predictors of mutual and nonmutual intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration were identified in a sample of female college freshmen (N = 499). Using female reports, couples were classified as to whether the relationship included no IPV, female-only IPV, or mutual IPV (male-only IPV was too rare to analyze). Mutual IPV was more common than asymmetrical IPV, and women in mutually violent relationships perpetrated more frequent acts of physical aggression than those in female-only violent relationships. In cross-sectional analyses of IPV in the first semester of college, only partner antisocial behavior and psychological aggression distinguished female-only IPV from no IPV; witnessing mother-to-father aggression, higher psychological aggression, more frequent partner marijuana use, partner antisocial behavior, and, surprisingly, higher relationship satisfaction, discriminated mutual IPV from no IPV. Contrary to hypothesis, first semester (T1) IPV did not predict having a new partner in the second semester (T2); however, women who reported more frequent heavy episodic drinking and lower relationship satisfaction at T1 were more likely to be in a different relationship at T2. Prospective prediction of T2 IPV category failed to support the hypothesis that female-only IPV would escalate to mutual IPV. The majority of couples with female-only IPV reported no IPV at T2. After accounting for T1 IPV, the only significant predictor of T2 IPV category was T1 psychological aggression, suggesting that this may be an appropriate target for IPV prevention efforts among college dating couples. Aggr. Behav. 37:362–373, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.