Women are more likely than men to be aggressive in relationships, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Cumbria asked more than 1,100 men and women aged 18 to 22 about aggressive behaviour towards their partners, ranging from verbal outbursts like insults and shouting to physical violence, including pushing, throwing objects and the use of items as weapons.
The results suggested that women were “significantly” more likely to be both verbally and physically aggressive to male partners than vice versa.
In addition, women prone to domestic violence were also likely to display controlling behaviour such as limiting who their partner could see socially and monitoring their movements.
Men, meanwhile, were most likely to show violence towards other men.
Psychology lecturer Elizabeth Bates was lead researcher on the study. She said:
“The stereotypical popular view is still one of dominant control by men. That does occur but research over the last ten to 15 years has highlighted the fact that women are controlling and aggressive in relationships too.”
She reported that her researchers had been surprised by the amount of violence cited to by female respondents in the survey.
“It wasn’t just pushing and shoving. Some people were circling the boxes for things like beating up, kicking, and threatening to use a weapon.”
Professor Bates believes that society is now becoming more aware of domestic violence directed towards men and that men themselves are increasingly willing to report it.
The findings were announced at a meeting of the British Psychological Study in Glasgow earlier this week.