Research Summary: We studied a representative sample of 360 young-adult couples from a birth cohort. We found abuse was a dyadic process; both partners’ personal characteristics increased abuse risk, and both sexes participated in abuse, particularly in clinical abusive couples having injury and/or official agency intervention. Treating only men may not reduce risk completely for most young couples.
Policy Implications: If replicated, the findings would suggest policy encouraging development and evaluation of programs to reduce physical abuse by women. Prevention programs could aim to reduce abusive behavior by both sexes and promote victim safety among both sexes. Policies against treating women in abusive couples may act counter to prevention.