Female perpetration of violence in heterosexual intimate relationships: Adolescence through adulthood

Jessica R. Williams, Reem M. Ghandour, Joan E. Kub

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


This article critically reviews 62 empirical studies that examine the prevalence of female-perpetrated intimate partner violence across three distinct populations (adolescents, college students, and adults). All studies were published between 1996 and 2006 and reported prevalence rates of physical, emotional, and/or sexual violence perpetrated by females in heterosexual intimate relationships. The highest rates were found for emotional violence, followed by physical and sexual violence. Prevalence rates varied widely within each population, most likely because of methodological and sampling differences across studies. Few longitudinal studies existed, limiting the extent to which we could identify developmental patterns associated with female-perpetrated intimate partner violence. Differences and similarities across populations are highlighted. Methodological difficulties of this area of inquiry as well as implications for practice, policy, and research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-249
Number of pages23
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • College students
  • Female perpetration
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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