Does psychological violence contribute to partner violence research? A historical, conceptual and critical review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article offers a critical historical and conceptual review of the category of psychological partner violence, identifying associated trends, approaches and components, and examining ways to define and implement the category in partner violence research. The first section presents general logical principles of behavioral categorization that are valid for psychological partner violence. The second section examines common partner violence approaches to psychological partner violence, based on the principles of classification presented in the first section. It identifies how psychological violence is defined, what are the behaviors it includes and excludes, and how it is incorporated in the study of partner violence. For that end, major works in this field are chronologically examined. Based on limitations identified in the second section, it is argued that despite all the attempts made, psychological partner violence is still a vague, unclear, and controversial concept. As such, its contribution to the field of partner violence is doubtful. It is thus recommended to relinquish psychological partner violence as a distinct category of partner violence, and to regard it as merely an abstract heuristic backdrop.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-16
Number of pages12
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Gender symmetry in partner violence
  • Non-physical partner violence
  • Partner sanctions
  • Partner violence classification categories
  • Psychological partner violence
  • Verbal partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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