The control motive in intimate partner violence *

Richard B. Felson, Steven F. Messner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations


Violence is often used to control the behavior of others. Some scholars hypothesize that this motive is particularly common when men attack their female partners. To measure the control motive we determine whether the offender in assaults threatened the victim before the attack; threats typically are used to control others' behavior. We predict a statistical interaction involving offender's gender, victim's gender, and offender-victim relationship. Analyses based on data from the revised National Crime Victimization Survey reveal such an interaction, suggesting that assaults by husbands against their wives are more likely than other assaults to be motivated by efforts at control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-94
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Psychology Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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