NYMC Faculty Publications

Understanding Patterns of Intimate Partner Abuse in Male-male, Male-female, and Female-female Couples

Journal Title

The Psychiatric Quarterly

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Publication Date

June 2017


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA), a major social problem, can lead to mental health conditions and is implicated in 30 % of female and 5 % of male homicide deaths. We hypothesized that due to distinct relationship structures and power dynamics which are immersed in varying sociocultural contexts, victims of male-male, female-female and female-male dyads experience different patterns of IPA. Our objectives were: (1) To examine the demographic and clinical characteristics of victims of male victim-male abuser (M-M), female victim-male abuser (F-M), male victim-female abuser (M-F), and female victim-female abuser (F-F) dyads. (2) To compare patterns of IPA reported by the victims in these groups. Out of 397 subjects in the general population that attempted this Internet-based study, 214 English-speaking subjects were older than 18 years, had experienced IPA, and provided complete information for the analysis. Victims of IPA were screened and specific methods of abuse were evaluated. M-Ms were significantly more educated (70 %) than other groups. F-Fs experienced more abuse before age 18 by a parent or relative. F-Fs experienced the most physical abuse while M-Ms the least (p = 0.004). Physical abuse or threats of abuse in front of children was reported more in F-Fs (p<0.01) and least in M-Ms. IPA patterns differ significantly with F-Fs presenting the most physical profile and M-Ms presenting the least.