Sanctions as a Tactic Used in Partner Conflicts: Theoretical, Operational, and Preliminary Findings

Zeev Winstok, Ronit Smadar-Dror

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Partner sanction in this study is a form/tactic of violence, much like verbal and physical violence, which partners use toward each other during their conflicts. The partner sanction embodies a temporary deprivation of a mutually agreed-on right. The purpose of this study is to develop a theoretical and operational framework of sanctions partners use. The study sampled 74 heterosexual couples from the general population (148 male and female participants). The findings support the validity and reliability of the sanction measurement. Furthermore, findings indicate that the use of sanctions between partners is highly prevalent among men and women in the general population; that the more one partner uses sanctions, the more the other partner uses it; and that sanctions are strongly associated with other violent tactics partners use in their conflict (i.e., verbal and physical). Theoretical and empirical implications of the theoretical framework and the findings are discussed, including the role of sanctions in partner conflicts that escalate to severe forms of violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1998-2037
Number of pages40
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number12
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2014


  • conflict escalation
  • gender symmetry
  • partner violence
  • physical attack
  • psychological abuse
  • sanctions
  • verbal aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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