Mutually violent attitudes: effects on intimate partner violence and mental health symptoms among couples in Botswana, Africa

Date31 January 2011
Published date31 January 2011
AuthorOdireleng Jankey,Moisés Próspero,Peter Fawson
Subject MatterHealth & social care,Sociology
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research • Volume 3 Issue 1 • January 2011 © Pier Professional Ltd4
Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been found
to be prevalent throughout the world, but
recently researchers in several countries have
been revealing that partner violence is often
not unidirectional (only one aggressor in the
couple, usually the male) but rather mutual
(both members are aggressors) (Fiebert, 2004;
Graham-Kevan, 2006; Hines & Saudino, 2003;
Katz et al, 2002; LaRoche, 2005; Próspero &
Kim, 2009; Straus & Gelles, 1990; Straus &
Ramirez, 2007). A recent longitudinal study
by Lussier et al (2009) found that the most
Mutually violent
attitudes: effects on
intimate partner violence and
mental health symptoms among
couples in Botswana, Africa
Odireleng Jankey
Professor, University of Botswana, Botswana
Moisés Próspero
Assistant Professor, University of Utah, USA
Peter Fawson
Research Analyst, University of Utah, USA
The present study investigated the prevalence of mutual violence, violent attitudes and
mental health symptoms among students in Botswana, Africa. The sample consisted of 562
university students from Botswana University in heterosexual relationships. Participants
completed self-report surveys that asked about violent attitudes, partner violence, controlling
behaviours, and mental health symptoms. Results were that respondent and respondent
partner’s violent attitudes, partner violence and controlling behaviours were significantly
related, revealing the mutuality of aggression within couples. Males reported higher violent
attitudes but were just as likely as females to report controlling behaviours and physical
partner perpetration. Multivariate analyses found that violent victimisation (physical and
sexual), controlling behaviours and violent attitudes were significantly related to violent
perpetration. Violent attitudes of the partner contributed to the respondent’s violent
perpetration of the partner. Respondents were likely to report more mental health symptoms
if they experienced sexual violence and controlling behaviours by their intimate partners.
Similarly, mental health symptoms of the respondents were associated with the partner’s
violent attitudes.
Violent attitudes; mutual partner violence; controlling behaviours; mental health.

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