The Controversy Concerning the Validity of the Asymmetry Thesis for Physical Partner Violence: A Pilot Study

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The article addresses the controversy concerning the validity of the asymmetry thesis for physical partner violence (PV) expressed by the feminist paradigm, which for years has been stumping the field’s development. This paradigm links structural inequality between men and women in society with man-to-woman physical violence in intimate relationships. The asymmetry thesis received insufficient direct in-depth empirical examination, and most of the discussion focuses on the ratio of male and female use of physical PV. The article proposes a direct research of the link between patriarchal conservativism/egalitarian liberalism and physical violence by men and women in intimate relationships. Such studies, which directly explore the core issue, not only advance the controversy towards solution but promote better understanding of and effective intervention in PV as well. To demonstrate the proposed approach, a pilot study is reported, comparing men and women’s physical PV rates among three Israeli sample populations with distinct characteristics: liberal/egalitarian secular Jews, religious and ultra-orthodox patriarchal/conservative Jews, and patriarchal/conservative Muslims. The findings of the pilot study repudiate the sweeping validity of the asymmetry thesis for PV and encourage further examination of it using the proposed approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1042
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Dyadic concordance types
  • Feminist paradigm for partner violence
  • Gender symmetry/asymmetry
  • Partner violence controversy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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