A Brief Review of Intimate Partner Violence in the United States: Nature, Correlates, and Proposed Preventative Measures


  • Pamela C. Regan
  • Ramani S. Durvasula


Aggression and violence are themes which characterize a significant proportion of many close romantic relationships. Both women and men may find themselves caught in a web of intimate terror – controlled, manipulated, and hurt by a coercive and violent partner. In this brief review article, we summarize existing literature on the form of intimate partner violence known as coercive controlling violence (CCV), domestic abuse, or intimate terrorism. We begin by discussing the nature and consequences of CCV relationships. Personal or individual (e.g., biological sex, age, immigrant status, socioeconomic status, attitudes and beliefs, mental health and psychopathology), relational or interpersonal (e.g., relationship type, relationship satisfaction), and environmental (e.g., economic strain, social isolation) risk factors associated with the occurrence of domestic abuse are identified. Finally, potential preventative measures at the individual, interpersonal, and sociocultural level that may serve to reduce the likelihood of this pernicious interpersonal phenomenon are considered.