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16-Dec-2017 05:17

An intercultural study in 31 universities from 16 countries showed that the rate of physical assault of dating partners in the previous 12 months ranged from 17% to 45% [7].This great disparity and variability in the indicators of the prevalence of violence has been mainly attributed to different methodological options employed by studies (e.g., [8, 9]), including a lack of a clear definition of violence; the type of abuse measured and the great variety of instruments used in the measurement of violent behavior; sampling bias, including overrepresentation of the student population, particularly university students; the time period evaluated, such as during the previous year or lifelong; and the use of self-report measures of respondents.A sample of 3,716 participants, aged 15 to 67 years, filled in one attitudinal questionnaire and a self-report instrument on abuse perpetration and victimization.Attitudinal data revealed a general disapproval of violence use, with greater violence support among males and married participants.Regarding violence in married couples, the World Report on Violence and Health [2], based on information collected in 38 countries, places rates of lifetime prevalence at between 10% and 76%.

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For instance, Straus [7] found that rates of perpetration of minor and severe acts ranged from 17% to 48% for females and 16% to 38% for males.

When comparing violence in both relational contexts, we found that, in terms of perpetration, more dating partners reported physical abuse and severe forms of physical abuse than married partners. Marital violence has been a widely studied topic since the seventies, whereas violence between dating partners has become the object of growing attention since Makepeace pioneer study in 1981 [1].

This study revealed that one in every five college students was affected by this problem, whereas 61% of participants revealed that they knew young people who had gone through an abusive dating experience.

For instance, in a large national sample composed of 4,667 participants, a significant number of students from various educational levels and age groups reported violent behaviors in their relationships (30.6% global perpetration, 18.1% physical, and 22.4% emotional) [10].

The levels of violence found in the latter study [10] are somewhat higher than those reported in a study of a representative sample of married Portuguese couples, which used the same instruments (26% global perpetration, 12% physical, and 24% emotional) [11].

However, in the case of dating violence, findings regarding gender effects are mixed and inconclusive.