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Women More likely to be the Aggressors in Relationships

Update Date: Jun 26, 2014 04:30 PM EDT

Even though relationships should ideally be about love and nurture, it is not always the case. In a new study, researchers examined people's roles in a partnership. The team found that women were more likely than men to be verbally and physically abusive.

In this study, the team composed of Dr. Elizabeth Bates from the University of Cumbria and colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire recruited 1,104 students. 706 of them were women and the remaining 398 were men. The participants filled out questionnaires regarding their physical aggression and controlling behaviors with romantic partners and same-sex friends.

"This was an interesting finding. Previous studies have sought to explain male violence towards women as rising from patriarchal values, which motivate men to seek to control women's behavior, using violence if necessary," Dr. Bates said according to Medical Xpress.

Based on these self-reported answers, the researchers concluded that women were more likely than men to be physically aggressive toward their partners. However, men were more likely than women to be physically aggressive towards their same-sex friends. Aside from aggression, women were more likely to report being controlling than men.

"This study found that women demonstrated a desire to control their partners and were more likely to use physical aggression than men. This suggests that IPV may not be motivated by patriarchal values and needs to be studied within the context of other forms of aggression, which has potential implications for interventions," Dr. Bates said.

The findings were presented at the symposium, "Developments in Intimate Partner Violence Research and Practice," which took place at the British Psychological Society's Division of Forensic Psychology annual conference in Glasgow.

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