Controversies in Partner Violence

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter


Partner violence (PV) is a considered a major social concern in the United States and other Western nations and is the focus of regular educational, prevention, and treatment efforts in these nations. Feminist advocacy movements in the 1970s brought PV out of the home and into the public eye. About this time, the major controversy regarding PV also began taking shape: how to properly conceptualize the definition and underlying causes of PV. The field split into two camps: those who think that at the heart of all PV is men's need to dominate and control women – the patriarchal perspective; and, those who think that male dominance is only one of many risk factors for PV and conceptualize PV as something that often involves women who perpetrate PV – the family conflict perspective. In this chapter, we review how this schism underlies and has influenced PV prevalence estimates, measurement techniques, research into causal mechanisms, victim services, treatment options, and prevention programs.

Original Citation

Hines, D.A., Douglas, E.M., & Straus, M.A. (2016). Controversies in Partner Violence. In C.A. Cuevas and C.M. Rennison (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook on the Psychology of Violence (pp. 411-438). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118303092.ch21