Risk factors for male-to-female partner physical abuse

Julie A. Schumacher, Shari Feldbau-Kohn, Amy M. Smith Slep, Richard E. Heyman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


We review the risk and protective factors for male-to-female partner physical abuse and present effect sizes. We distinguish among the various operationalizations of physical aggression (e.g., men in court mandated abuse programs, men identified through a single item on the CTS). Overall, however, several risk factors showed moderate to strong effect sizes. Perpetrator factors include SES, education, history of child sexual victimization, exposure to parental physical and/or verbal aggression, violent adult models in childhood, non-family aggression by parent, elevated levels of state and trait anger and hostility; various personality disorders; various Axis I psychopathology, particularly depression alcohol and drug abuse; deficits in spouse-specific assertiveness; and attitudes that condone abuse. Risk factors for women being victimized included less education, unemployment, and history of child emotional/verbal victimization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-352
Number of pages72
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Partner
  • Physical abuse
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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