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Is Partner Violence Worse in the Context of Control?


Department of Sociology, Western Washington University, 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225-9081 (


M. P. Johnson’s (1995) proposal that there are two qualitatively distinct types of intimate partner violence—intimate terrorism and situational couple violence—has been an influential explanation for disparate findings on sex symmetry in domestic violence. This study examines whether this typology increases our ability to explain variations in the negative outcomes of partner violence as compared with the use of a continuous measure of violence. This study also considers whether the use of control to differentiate between types of violence helps to explain the negative consequences of partner violence. The results, based on analyses of data on 4,575 married women from National Violence Against Women survey, indicate mixed support for Johnson’s argument for a qualitative distinction between IT and SCV.