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Gendering Intimate Partner Violence: an Analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health

  • Author(s): Messinger, Adam
  • Advisor(s): Williams, Kirk R
  • et al.

Scholars have long posited that intimate partner violence (IPV) - physical violence, sexual violence, verbal abuse, and controlling behaviors between intimate partners - is impacted by masculinity norms of aggression and dominance (for example, see Haraway and O'Neil 1999; Moore and Stuart 2005). Despite this topic's immense potential for prevention and treatment policies, quantitative IPV research tends to eschew empirically informed measures of masculinities and femininities in favor of a simplistically binary male-female variable, likely in part because of methodological concerns over how to adequately measure the complexities of gender. This is unfortunate given that the representative nature of large-scale, quantitatively-analyzed research is of great value to policymakers. The present dissertation provides a thorough background on the gender and IPV literatures with a particular focus on the history and benefits of quantifying gender. Additionally, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory, the most widely used measure of gendered psychological traits in the literature, is used to predict IPV in an analysis of 4,027 nationally-representative adolescents in a relationship, data drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. This represents the first study using a gender trait measure to predict IPV utilizing a nationally-representative sample. Findings from negative binomial regression and multinomial logistic regression analyses reveal that a lack of femininity - rather than simply the presence of masculinity - predicts an increased risk of IPV perpetration and victimization for both men and women. Methodological and policy implications as well as future directions are discussed.

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