Dr. Sherry Hamby and Amy Jackson ‘09: Perceptions of Dating Violence

Sherry Hamby, Research Associate Professor of Psychology, and Amy Jackson '09 report asymmetry in perceptions of intimate partner violence in an original journal article published online 21 July 2010.

Previous research has shown that people perceive intimate partner violence (IPV) as more serious in cases involving a male perpetrator and female victim versus other gender combinations. This study is the first to explore reasons for these differences. 181 undergraduates at a U.S. southeastern college rated one of four dating violence vignettes that varied by perpetrator and victim gender. Participants viewed male-on-female violence as more frightening primarily because males are stronger and bigger than female perpetrators. Physical differences were rated as significantly more important causes of fear than other personality/relationship dynamics. Because males are actually stronger and bigger than females, it appears that gendered perceptions of violence are based in real-world knowledge of gender differences, not merely gender stereotypes.  [Journal Abstract]

Hamby, S., & Jackson, A.  (2010).  Size does matter:  the effects of gender on perceptions of dating violence. Sex Roles, 63(5-6), 324-331.