Observed initiation and reciprocity of physical aggression in young, at-risk couples

Deborah M. Capaldi, Hyoun K. Kim, Joann Wu Shortt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


The present study examined sex differences in initiation of physical aggression as observed during discussion tasks and in the likelihood of a similar response from the partner. In addition, patterns for men and women in the prevalence of aggression initiation and partner reciprocation across 4 time points spanning approximately 9 years from late adolescence through the mid-20s are examined, as well as overall associations with reported aggression and injuries. Findings indicated that the young women were more likely than the men to initiate physical aggression at late adolescence. However, by the mid-20s in early adulthood there were no significant sex differences in initiation rates. The average rates of reciprocation across the 4 time points appeared to be similar for men and women. Women and men appeared more likely to report injuries if the couples observed involved mutual physical aggression in their interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-111
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment The Cognitive, Social and Affective Development, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Branch, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) provided support for the Couples Study (HD 46364). Additional support was provided by Grant MH 37940 from the Antisocial and Other Personality Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), U.S. PHS; Grant DA 051485 from the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Branch, NIDA, and Cognitive, Social, and Affective Development, NICHD, NIH, U.S. PHS; and Grant MH 46690 from the Prevention, Early Intervention, and Epidemiology Branch, NIMH, and Office of Research on Minority Health, U.S. PHS.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


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