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An Online Resource Library on Gender-Based Violence.

The Different Types and Contexts of Domestic Violence

A variety of studies, by a number of authors, using different data sets and measures have established that domestic violence is not a unitary phenomenon. Rather, "typologies" have been developed to describe different types of intimate partner violence and the context in which they occur. Each type has somewhat different causes and implications for marriage and relationship programs.

Journal Articles:

  • Anderson, K. L. (2008). Is Partner Violence Worse in the Context of Control? Journal of Marriage and Family 70:1157-1168.
    This study examines whether the Johnson typology increases the ability to explain variations in the negative outcomes of partner violence as compared with the use of a continuous measure of violence. This study also considers whether the use of control to differentiate between types of violence helps to explain the negative consequences of partner violence.
  • Holtzworth-Munroe, A. & Meehan, J. C. (2004). Typologies of Men Who Are Maritally Violent: Scientific and Clinical Implications. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 19(12).
    The leading typologies of batterers are outlined. Clinical issues regarding the typology are discussed, including concern that the use of absolute cut-off points to identify subtypes is premature and consideration of using the typology to predict treatment outcome and to match interventions to subtypes . Regarding future research ideas, it is time to consider more immediate, situational and dyadic, processes leading to violence perpetration within each subtype.
  • Johnson, M. P. & Ferraro, K. (2000). Research on Domestic Violence in the 1990s: Making Distinctions. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62(4): 948-963. Decade Review, Special Issue.
    This review of the family literature on domestic violence of the 1990s identifies two broad themes: the importance of distinctions among types and contexts of violence, and the interplay of violence, power and control. It also covers literature on coping with violence, effects on victims and their children, and the social effects of partner violence.


Two interviews conducted with a leading sociologist and a community psychologist provide insights into the ongoing efforts to understand domestic violence as it occurs in different cultural contexts. Both were participants and presenters at the conference titled Building Bridges Between Healthy Marriage, Responsible Fatherhood, and Domestic Violence Fields, at the Wingspread Conference Center, Racine, Wisconsin, on May 1-3, 2006. The conference was co-sponsored by the Center for Law and Social Policy and the National Conference of State Legislatures