From a Static to a Dynamic Approach to the Study of Partner Violence

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Feminist and family violence scholars disagree over how partner violence should be studied and understood. One may expect that the use of different observation units would serve as a backdrop to the controversy, yet most studies in the field are based on single individual behavioral units of observation that are context-free. The present article attempts to propose a complementary or alternative observational unit. This unit of observation focuses on the aggressive interactions between the intimate partners, and enables researchers not only to explore the causes and consequences of the aggressive behavior but also to capture and analyze the dynamics of the partners' conflicts that escalate to violence. The interactional observation unit can serve to advance the accumulating knowledge in the field as well as the discussion on the role of gender in partner violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-204
Number of pages12
JournalSex Roles
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Conflict escalation to violence
  • Gender differences
  • Gender symmetry
  • Interactional unit of observation
  • Paradigmatic cleavage
  • Partner violence
  • Violence against women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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