SELECTED WORK ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Johnson, Michael P. (2008). A Typology of Domestic Violence: Intimate Terrorism, Violent Resistance, and Situational Couple Violence. Boston: Northeastern University Press. Domestic violence, a serious and far-reaching social problem, has generated two key debates among researchers. The first debate is about gender and domestic violence. Some scholars argue that domestic violence is primarily male-perpetrated, others that women are as violent as men in intimate relationships. Johnson's response to this debate--and the central theme of this book--is that there is more than one type of intimate partner violence. Some studies address the type of violence that is perpetrated primarily by men, while others are getting at the kind of violence that women are involved in as well. Because there has been no theoretical framework delineating types of domestic violence, researchers have easily misread one another's studies. The second major debate involves how many women are abused each year by their partners. Estimates range from two to six million. Johnson's response once again comes from this book's central theme. If there is more than one type of intimate partner violence, then the numbers depend on what type you're talking about. Johnson argues that domestic violence is not a unitary phenomenon. Instead, he delineates three major, dramatically different, forms of partner violence: intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence. He roots the conceptual distinctions among the forms of violence in an analysis of the role of power and control in relationship violence and shows that the failure to make these basic distinctions among types of partner violence has produced a research literature that is plagued by both overgeneralizations and ostensibly contradictory findings. This volume begins the work of theorizing forms of domestic violence, a crucial first step to a better understanding of these phenomena among scholars, social scientists, policy makers, and service providers.
Types of domestic violence: Research evidence. Presented at Third Nordic Conference on Barnet og Rusen. Sandefjord, Norway. September 2012. (about an hour)
Michael Johnson - Radio New Zealand (October 28, 2012)
Johnson, Michael P. (2015). Bibliography of Empirical Papers Addressing the Typology with Abstracts and Notes. 27pp
Articles, Chapters, and Presentations
McKay, T., Tueller, S. J., Landwehr, J., & Johnson, M. (2022). Types of partner violence in couples affected by incarceration: Applying Johnson’s typology to understand the couple-level context for violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 37 (9-10), NP8056-NP8087. In prior research, samples of incarcerated and reentering men and their partners report partner violence at roughly 10 times the frequency found in the general population. The relationship dynamics underlying these experiences remain poorly understood. Addressing this gap and expanding prior applications of Johnson’s typology in other populations—which typically rely on survey data alone and include reports from just one member of a couple—we applied latent class analysis with dyadic survey data from 1,112 couples to identify types of partner violence in couples affected by incarceration. We assessed congruence between quantitative types and couples’ qualitative accounts and compared the two major types using two-sample t-tests.
In some couples, one partner used various tactics to systematically dominate and control the other, as in Johnson’s coercive controlling violence. In others, physical violence arose in the context of jealousy but no other controlling behavior. This type resembled Johnson’s situational couple violence. Qualitative data suggested that jealousy represented a common, situational response to periods of prolonged separation, relationship instability, status insecurity, and partnership concurrence and not a tactic of control per se. Victims of coercive controlling violence experienced more PTSD symptoms and felt less safe in their relationships than victims of jealous-only violence. Perpetrators of coercive controlling violence were more likely to use severe physical violence against their partners than perpetrators of jealous-only violence. Findings indicate that broader context is critical for interpreting the presence of jealousy (and whether it constitutes a control tactic). They indicate that prevention and response strategies tailored to these types could help couples cope safely with the extreme relationship stressors of incarceration and reentry. Finally, they suggest a need to move from an exclusive focus on individual accountability and services toward a model that also incorporates institutional accountability and change.
Johnson, Michael P. (2017). A personal social history of a typology of intimate partner violence. Journal of Family Theory and Review 9 (June), 150-164. This article is a personal social narrative of the development of my control-based typology of intimate partner violence (IPV). The influence of friends and colleagues in all aspects of this process was so central and so pervasive that it just did not make sense to me to make this a story only about myself. After I tell the social story of the development of the first version and then later versions of my thinking about types of IPV, I leave the personal realm and lay out the implications of the typology for the question of the relationship between gender and intimate partner violence. Finally, I briefly tie the gender question to the general issues of inequality that have driven me throughout my career.
Hardesty, Jennifer L., Kimberly A. Crossman, Megan L. Haselschwerdt, Marcela Raffaelli, Brian G. Ogolsky, and Michael P. Johnson. (2015). Toward a standard approach to operationalizing coercive control and classifying violence types. Journal of Marriage and Family 77 (August), 833-843. Coercive control is central to distinguishing between Johnson's (2008) 2 main types of intimate partner violence: (a) coercive controlling violence and (b) situational couple violence. Approaches to assessing coercive control, however, have been inconsistent. Using data from 2 projects involving divorcing mothers (N = 190), the authors compared common analytic strategies for operationalizing coercive control and classifying types of violence. The results establish advantages to measuring coercive control in terms of frequency versus number of tactics, illustrate the use of both hierarchical and k-means clustering methods to identify patterns of coercive control and evaluate clustering solutions, and offer a suggested cutoff for classifying violence types in general samples of separated women using the Dominance–Isolation subscale of the widely used Psychological Maltreatment of Women Inventory (Tolman, 1992). Finally, the authors demonstrate associations between types of violence and theoretically relevant variables, including frequency and severity of violence, harassment and violence after separation, fear, and perceived threat.
Johnson, Michael P. (2014). Les types de violence familiale. Pp. 15-31 in Maryse Rinfret-Raynor, Élisabeth Lesieux, Marie-Marthe Cousineau, Sonia Gauthier, and Elizabeth Harper (Eds.), Violences Envers les Femmes: Réalités Complexes et Nouveaux Enjeux dans un Monde en Transformation. Québec: Presses Universitaires de l’Université du Québec. (Final draft in English without paging: Distinguishing among types of intimate partner violence: Intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence. Pp. 15-31 in Maryse Rinfret-Raynor, Élisabeth Lesieux, Marie-Marthe Cousineau, Sonia Gauthier, and Elizabeth Harper (Eds.), Violence Against Women: Complex Realities and New Issues in a Changing World. Québec: Presses Universitaires de l’Université du Québec.)
Johnson, Michael P., Janel M. Leone, & Yili Xu. (2014). Intimate terrorism and situational couple violence in general surveys: Ex-spouses required. Violence Against Women 20 (February), 186-207. (Nominated by the journal's associate editors and editorial board for the 2014 Best Article Award.)
In this paper we argue that past efforts to distinguish among types of intimate partner violence in survey data have committed a critical error: using data on current spouses to develop operationalizations of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence. We use ex-spouse data from the National Violence Against Women survey to develop new operationalizations. We then demonstrate that NVAW current spouse data contain little intimate terrorism; we argue that this is likely to be the case for all general surveys. In addition, the ex-spouse data confirm past findings regarding a variety of differences between intimate terrorism and situational couple violence, including those predicted by feminist theories.
Hardesty, Jennifer L., Megan L. Haselschwerdt, and Michael P. Johnson. (2012). Domestic violence and child custody. In Kathryn Kuehnle and Leslie Drozd (Eds.), Parenting Plan Evaluations: Applied Research for the Family Court (pp. 442-475). New York: Oxford University Press. The purpose of this chapter is to review empirical research that will inform the process of evaluating separating parents in the context of DV. We begin by introducing distinctions among types of DV, distinctions that are important for understanding the relevant research and for evaluating the implications of DV for custody decisions. To help establish the relevance of DV to child custody, we provide a summary of the effects of DV exposure on children. Then we review the research on parenting in the context of DV. This growing body of research provides insight into post-separation relationship dynamics and parenting characteristics of victims and abusers. The chapter concludes with the options available for parenting plans that prioritize both safety and the long-term adjustment of parents and children affected by DV.
Johnson, Michael P. (2011, May). Distinguishing among Types of Domestic Violence: Intimate Terrorism, Violent Resistance, and Situational Couple Violence. Invited presentation at the Second International Conference on Violence Against Women (sponsored by CRI-VIFF). Montreal, Quebec.
Johnson, Michael P. (2011). Gender and types of intimate partner violence: A response to an anti-feminist literature review. Aggression and Violent Behavior 16 (July/August), 289-296. This article presents a feminist perspective on domestic violence that is rooted in an explication of the differences among three major types of intimate partner violence (intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence). Theory and research from this perspective is then reviewed to rebut recent attacks on feminist scholarship and policy regarding intimate partner violence.
Johnson, Michael P. (2010). We haven’t reached post-feminism yet. Building Partnerships (Winter), 9. The Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women and Children, The University of Western Ontario.
Derrington, R., Johnson, M., Menard, A., Ooms, T., & Stanley, S. (2010). Making Distinctions Among Different Types of Intimate Partner Violence: A Preliminary Guide (36pp): National Healthy Marriage Resource Center and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Handouts for the second of two Powerpoint presentations for the practitioners’ workshop sponsored by the New Directions Program of Catholic Family Service Ottawa. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Handouts for the first of two Powerpoint presentations for the practitioners’ workshop sponsored by the New Directions Program of Catholic Family Service Ottawa. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Johnson, Michael P. (2010). Langhinrichsen-Rohling’s Confirmation of the Feminist Analysis of Intimate Partner Violence: Comment on “Controversies Involving Gender and Intimate Partner Violence in the United States.” Sex Roles, 62 (3-4), 212-219. This article makes four major points in response to Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling’s (2010) review of the intimate partner violence literature. First, the evidence is clear that there is more than one type of intimate partner violence. Second, the feminists are right. Gender is central to the analysis of intimate partner violence, and the coercive controlling violence that most people associate with the term “domestic violence” is perpetrated primarily by men against their female partners. Third, different types of intimate partner violence have different causes, different developmental trajectories, and different consequences. They require different models to understand them. Finally, we need more qualitative research focused on the least understood types of intimate partner violence: violent resistance and situational couple violence. [Correction Notice: An erratum for this article was reported in Sex Roles (2010) 62:220.] In “Langhinrichsen-Rohling’s Confirmation of the Feminist Analysis of Intimate Partner Violence: Comment on ‘Controversies Involving Gender and Intimate Partner Violence in the United States’” (Volume 62, Numbers 3/4, February 2010,DOI: 10.1007/s11199-009-9697-2) Langhinrichsen-Rohling’s name was erroneously misspelled in the title, the abstract, and the conclusion. The correct spelling is Langhinrichsen-Rohling.
Johnson, Michael P. (May, 2009). Where Do “Domestic Violence” Statistics Come From and Why Do They Vary So Much? Paper presented at a workshop sponsored by the Healthy Marriage Resource Center and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence: Towards a Common Understanding: Domestic Violence Typologies and Implications for Healthy Marriage and Domestic Violence Programs. Warrenton, Virginia. Available at the Healthy Marriage Resource Center Web site: http://www.healthymarriageinfo.org/docs/DomesticViolenceStatistics.pdf. Domestic violence advocates and family violence researchers often appear to contradict each other when they describe and report on the extent and nature of intimate partner violence (IPV). Although the term “domestic violence” has a very clear specific meaning to advocates working in the domestic violence field, it is used in other ways in other contexts to cover many different types of couple conflict. This paper helps to clarify some of the misunderstandings, errors, and apparent contradictions that derive in part from these differences in language use, in part from not understanding where the statistics come from and what the strengths and limitations of the data are, and in part from wrongly treating “domestic violence” as a single phenomenon.
Johnson, Michael P. (2009). Differentiating among types of domestic violence: Implications for healthy marriages. In H. Elizabeth Peters and Claire M. Kamp Dush (Eds.), Marriage and Family: Perspectives and Complexities (pp. 281-297). New York: Columbia University Press. (Adobe)
Johnson, Michael P., Janel M. Leone, and Yili Xu. (November, 2008). Gender, intimate terrorism, and situational couple violence in general survey data: The gender debate revisited--again. Poster presented at the National Council on Family Relations annual meeting. Little Rock, AR. (Powerpoint) We use National Violence Against Women Survey data to develop an operationalization of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence. We argue that past efforts to distinguish among types of intimate partner violence in general survey data have committed a critical error in using cluster analysis with data on current spouses. We develop a valid operationalization based on data regarding ex-spouses. The data on ex-spouses confirm past findings regarding a variety of differences between intimate terrorism and situational couple violence, including the gender patterns predicted by feminist theories of intimate partner violence. We then apply this new operationalization to the current spouse data in the National Violence Against Women Survey to demonstrate that general survey data on current relationships contain little or no intimate terrorism. This finding has major implications for the use of such data to test feminist theories of intimate partner violence. The new operationalization avoids the vagaries of cluster analysis in investigations of the balance of major types of intimate partner violence in different populations.
Kelly, Joan B. and Michael P. Johnson. (2008). Differentiation among types of intimate partner violence: Research update and implications for interventions. Family Court Review 46 (3), 476-499. A growing body of empirical research has demonstrated that intimate partner violence is not a unitary phenomenon and that types of domestic violence can be differentiated with respect to partner dynamics, context, and consequences. Four patterns of violence are described: Coercive Controlling Violence, Violent Resistance, Situational Couple Violence, and Separation-Instigated Violence. The controversial matter of gender symmetry and asymmetry in intimate partner violence is discussed in terms of sampling differences and methodological limitations. Implications of differentiation among types of domestic violence include the need for improved screening measures and procedures in civil, family, and criminal court and the possibility of better decision making, appropriate sanctions, and more effective treatment programs tailored to the characteristics of different types of partner violence. In family court, reliable differentiation should provide the basis for determining what safeguards are necessary and what types of parenting plans are appropriate to ensure healthy outcomes for children and parent-child relationships.
Menon, Niveditha & Michael P. Johnson. (2007). Patriarchy and paternalism in intimate partner violence: A study of domestic violence in rural India. In Kamal K. Misra and Janet Huber Lowry (Eds.), Recent Studies on Indian Women: Empirical Work of Social Scientists (pp. 171-195). New Delhi: Rawat Publications.
Three important characteristics of domestic violence emerge from the results of this study. First, patriarchy does not necessarily lead to the use of violence. Second, violence may be used primarily as a means of last resort, after all other control tactics have failed. Third, discourses of love have to be incorporated into our understanding of violence within the family.
Leone, Janel M., Michael P. Johnson, and Catherine M. Cohan. (2007). Victim help-seeking: Differences between intimate terrorism and situational couple violence. Family Relations 56 (5), 427-439. Research indicates that two major forms of partner violence exist, intimate terrorism (IT) and situational couple violence (SCV). The current study (N = 389) used a subgroup of women who responded to the Chicago Women's Health Risk Study to examine whether type of violence experienced is differentially related to formal (e.g., police, medical agencies, counseling) and informal (e.g., family, friends/neighbors) help seeking. IT victims were more likely to seek each type of formal help but were equally or less likely to seek informal help. Findings can inform both family violence research and the development and implementation of social service programs.
Johnson, Michael P. (2007). Domestic violence: The intersection of gender and control. In Laura L. O’Toole, Jessica R. Schiffman, & Margie Kiter Edwards (Eds.), Gender Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 2nd edition (pp. 257-268). New York: New York University Press. Reprinted in Andrew J. Cherlin (Ed.), Public & Private Families, A Reader 5/e, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2006. The first section of this chapter will demonstrate how attention to distinctions among types of intimate partner violence makes sense of ostensibly contradictory data regarding men's and women's violence in intimate relationships. The second section describes the basic structure of the types of intimate partner violence that most people associate with the term domestic violence, violence that is associated with coercive control, that is, one partner's attempt to take general control over the other. The third section presents a theory of domestic violence that is focused on the relationship between gender and coercive control. The fourth section addresses the role of gender in the type of intimate partner violence that does not involve an attempt to take general control over one's partner. The final section of the chapter deals with some of the intervention and policy implications of what we know about these types of intimate partner violence and their relationship to gender.
Johnson, Michael P. (November, 2006). A “general” theory of intimate partner violence: A working paper. Paper presented at the Theory Construction and Research Methodology Pre-Conference Workshop, National Council on Family Relations annual meeting. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Johnson, Michael P. (2006). A Sociologist’s Perspective on Domestic Violence: A Conversation with Michael Johnson, Ph.D. Interview by Theodora Ooms, CLASP. Available at the Healthy Marriage Resource Center Web site: http://www.healthymarriageinfo.org/docs/ASociologistsPerspective.pdf.
Johnson, Michael P. (2006). Gendered communication and intimate partner violence. In Bonnie J. Dow & Julia T. Wood (Eds.), The Sage Handbook of Gender and Communication (pp. 71-87). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Johnson, Michael P. (2006). Violence and abuse in personal relationships: Conflict, terror, and resistance in intimate partnerships. In Anita Vangelisti & Daniel Perlman (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships (pp. 557-576. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. This chapter focuses on intimate partner violence (IPV). I believe the two core lessons to be learned from work on IPV are simple, profound, and broadly applicable to violence in all types of personal relationships. First, one cannot understand violence in personal relationships without understanding its role in the relationship itself. Second, and more substantively, there are three quite different types of intimate partner violence, identified by their role in the control context of the relationship in which they are embedded. One type involves a violent attempt to take complete control or at least generally dominate the relationship (intimate terrorism), another involves violent resistance to such a control attempt (violent resistance), and the third is violence that is a product of particular conflicts or tensions within the relationship (situational couple violence). As this chapter shows, the nature of the control context is a major theme in the IPV literature, and although it has as yet received little attention in research on other types of personal relationships, there are hints of it in the parent-child literature.
Johnson, Michael P. (2006). Conflict and control: Gender, symmetry, and asymmetry in domestic violence. Violence Against Women 12 (November), 1003-1018. Four types of individual partner violence are identified on the basis of the dyadic control context of the violence. In intimate terrorism the individual is violent and controlling; the partner is not. In violent resistance the individual is violent but not controlling; the partner is the violent and controlling one. In situational couple violence, although the individual is violent, neither the individual nor the partner is violent and controlling. In mutual violent control both the individual and the partner are violent and controlling. Evidence is presented that situational couple violence dominates the violence identified in general surveys, while intimate terrorism and violent resistance dominate the violence in agency samples, and that this is the source of differences across studies with respect to the gender symmetry of partner violence. An argument is made that if we want to understand partner violence, to intervene effectively in individual cases, or to make useful policy recommendations, we must make these distinctions in our research.
Johnson, Michael P. (2005). Apples and oranges in child custody disputes: Intimate terrorism vs. situational couple violence. Journal of Child Custody, 2 (4), 43-52. Also: A brief reply to Dutton. Journal of Child Custody, 2 (4), 65-67.
In response to Dutton's (this issue) critique of feminist theories of domestic violence, the author of this article makes three points relevant to the debate about the gender asymmetry of intimate partner violence. First, there are three major types of intimate partner violence, only one of which (intimate terrorism) is the kind of violence that we all think of when we hear the term “domestic violence.” Second, both major types of sampling designs in domestic violence research are seriously biased, and those biases account for the fact that both sides of this debate have been able to marshal ostensibly contradictory empirical evidence for their position. Third, intimate terrorism (also know as domestic violence, spouse abuse, wife-beating, etc.) is, indeed, primarily male-perpetrated and, in the case of heterosexual relationships, probably best understood through some version of a feminist theory of domestic violence. The author then discusses the implications of these points for assessment of risk in child custody deliberations.
I make four major points in my response to the Fergusson, Horwood, and Ridder article, points that are equally relevant to other articles like it that continue to appear in our journals and in the general media suggesting that women are as violent as men in intimate relationships. First, there are three major types of intimate partner violence, only one of which is the kind of violence that we all think of when we hear the term ‘‘domestic violence.’’ Second, that type of intimate partner violence is, indeed, primarily male perpetrated and is most definitely a gender issue. Third, Fergusson, Horwood, and Ridder’s article is not about that type of violence. In fact, it is hardly about violence at all. Fourth, serious errors of fact, theory, and intervention inevitably follow from the failure to acknowledge the major differences among the three types of intimate partner violence.
Johnson, Michael P. and Janel M. Leone. (2005). The differential effects of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey. Journal of Family Issues, 26 (3), 322-349. (Adobe)
Data from the National Violence Against Women Survey show that the two major forms of husband violence toward their wives (intimate terrorism and situational couple violence) have different effects on their victims. Victims of intimate terrorism are attacked more frequently and experience violence that is less likely to stop. They are more likely to be injured, to exhibit more of the symptoms of posttraumatic stress syndrome, to use painkillers (perhaps also tranquilizers), and to miss work. They have left their husbands more often, and when they do leave, they are more likely to acquire their own residence. If we want to understand the true impact of wife abuse from survey data (rather than from agency data), we must make distinctions among types of violence so that the data used to describe battering are not diluted by data regarding other types of partner violence.
Johnson, Michael P. & Alison Cares. (2004, November). Effects and non-effects of childhood experiences of family violence on adult partner violence. Presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations. Orlando, Florida.
Johnson, Michael P. (2004). Review of Aysan Sev'er, Fleeing the House of Horrors: Women Who Have Left Abusive Partners. Canadian Journal of Sociology Online, (May – June). http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/cjscopy/reviews/fleeing.html
Leone, Janel M., Johnson, Michael P., Cohan, Catherine M., & Lloyd, Susan. (2004). Consequences of male partner violence for low-income minority women. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66 (May), 471-489 (Adobe).
The current study used a random sample of 563 low-income women to test Johnson’s (1995) theory that there are two major forms of male-partner violence, situational couple violence and intimate terrorism, which are distinguished in terms of their embeddedness in a general pattern of control. The study examined the associations between type of violence experienced and respondents’ physical health, psychological distress, and economic well-being. Analyses revealed three distinct patterns of partner violence: intimate terrorism, control/no threat, and situational couple violence. Compared to victims of control/no threat and situational couple violence, victims of intimate terrorism reported more injuries from physical violence and more work/activity time lost because of injuries. Compared to women who experienced no violence in the previous year, victims of intimate terrorism reported a greater likelihood of visiting a doctor, poorer health, more psychological distress, and a greater likelihood of receiving government assistance
Johnson, Michael P. (2004). Review of Restorative Justice and Family Violence, edited by Heather Strang and John Braithwaite. Contemporary Sociology, 33 (PART 1), 96-97.
Johnson, Michael P. (2003). Review of Home Truths about Domestic Violence: Feminist Influences on Policy and Practice, edited by J. Hanmer & C. Itzin. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 20 (2), 263.
Johnson, Michael P., Valerie Conklin, and Nividetha Menon. (2002, November). The effects of different types of domestic violence on women: Intimate terrorism vs. situational couple violence. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations. Houston, Texas.
Johnson, Michael P. (2001). Conflict and control: Symmetry and asymmetry in domestic violence. In Alan Booth, Ann C. Crouter and Mari Clements (Eds.), Couples in Conflict (pp. 95-104). Mahwah , NJ : Lawrence Erlbaum. (Adobe)
Johnson, Michael P. (2001). Review of The Violences of Men, by Jeff Hearn. Contemporary Sociology, 30 (#1), 26-27.
Johnson, Michael P. and Kathleen J. Ferraro. (2000). Research on domestic violence in the 1990s: Making distinctions. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62 (November): 948-963. (Adobe) Reviews family literature on domestic violence and suggests that 2 broad themes of the 1990s provide the most promising directions for the future. The 1st is the importance of distinctions among types or contexts of violence. Some distinctions are central to the theoretical and practical understanding of the nature of partner violence, others provide contexts for developing more sensitive and comprehensive theories, and others may simply force questioning the tendency to generalize carelessly from one context to another. Second, issues of control, although most visible in the feminist literature that focuses on men using violence to control "their women," also arise in other contexts, calling for more general analyses of the interplay of violence power, and control in relationships. In addition to these 2 general themes, the review covers literature on coping with violence, the effects on victims and their children, and the social effects of partner violence.
Klein, Renate and Michael P. Johnson. (2000). Conflict in family relationships. In Robert M. Milardo and Steve Duck (Eds.), Families as Relationships (pp. 79-97). New York: Wiley.
Johnson, Michael P. (1999, November). Two types of violence against women in the family: Identifying patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations. Irvine, California.
One of the most long-standing and acrimonious debates in the history of the sociology of the family concerns the alleged gender-symmetry of domestic violence. Using data from a late 1970s survey, this paper demonstrates that the violence that most people associate with the term “domestic violence,” i.e., recurrent, escalating, violent control of one’s partner, is decidedly male. This conclusion is reached through the operationalization of a typology of partner violence that is based in the connections of individual violence with a general pattern of power and control, and that distinguishes among four types of partner violence: patriarchal terrorism, common couple violence, violent resistance, and mutual violent control. Patriarchal terrorism, the type of violence that is referenced by the term “domestic violence” in everyday speech and in the media, is almost exclusively male. The most general implication of the results is that if we want to understand the nature of violence that takes place between domestic partners, we cannot continue to treat intimate violence as a unitary phenomenon. When we fail to make important distinctions among types of violence, we get the sort of conflicting, confusing evidence that has plagued the debate regarding the gender asymmetry of domestic violence.
Johnson, Michael P. (1996). Violence against women in the family: The United States and Vietnam. Pp. 287-296 in Kathleen Barry (ed.), Vietnam 's Women in Transition. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Johnson, Michael P. (1995). Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of violence against women in U.S. families. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57 (May): 283-294. (Adobe) This article argues that there are two distinct forms of couple violence taking place within families in the United States and other Western countries. A review of evidence from large-sample survey research and from qualitative and quantitative data gathered from women's shelters suggests that some families suffer from occasional outbursts of violence from either husbands or wives (common couple violence), while other families are terrorized by systematic male violence (patriarchal terrorism). It is argued that the distinction between common couple violence and patriarchal terrorism is important because it has implications for the implementation of public policy, the development of educational programs and intervention strategies, and the development of theories of interpersonal violence.