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First, are the partners experiencing conflict with one another?
Second, does either partner experience impulses toward intimate partner violence as a result of this conflict?
Although experiencing relationship conflict may be inevitable in romantic relationships, intimate partner violence as a tactic for dealing with this conflict is not.
Relationship conflict typically does not cause partners to experience violent impulses.
Virtually all intimate partner violence is instrumental, in that the partner’s pain is a means to an end rather than an end in itself.
Regardless of whether violence is motivated by the desire to control the partner’s behavior in the argument at hand, to gain justice or retribution, or to defend one’s self-image, it typically is not random or sadistic.
According to a nationally representative survey conducted in 1985, for example, 16.1% of married couples in the United States experienced an incident of violence during the previous year.
When the definition of violence is limited to include only severe violence perpetration (e.g., kicking, beating up, using a knife or gun), incidence remains high at 6.3%.
Violence should be a thing of the past, for instance violence has led to dissolution of several marriages and family breakups, some violence can be so strong that it can lead to death of a particular party involved. According to World Health Organization, violence can be defined as the intentional use of one’s own power or force that is physical and threatening against oneself, other individual, community or a group of people that can possibly result to injury, death or even physical harm against the victim.Moreover, intimate partner violence is not limited to married couples; evidence suggests that perpetration rates might be even higher among unmarried dating couples.Until the mid-1990s, researchers investigating intimate partner violence in heterosexual romantic relationships found themselves embroiled in a heated controversy over whether such behavior is best characterized as (a) a phenomenon in which men batter women in the interest of exerting control or dominance or (b) a gender-neutral phenomenon in which men or women sometimes become aggressive toward their partner during heated conflict.Such impulses, however, are not unheard of, and certain risk factors render them more likely.Factors that increase the likelihood that the experience of conflict leads a given partner to experience violent impulses include features of the immediate situation (e.g., experiencing anger or humiliation), the relationship (e.g., relationship commitment, power/control dynamics), the potential perpetrator’s personality (e.g., dispositional hostility or narcissism), and the potential perpetrator’s background characteristics (e.g., exposure to parental violence).