Physical and mental health outcomes of women in nonviolent, unilaterally violent, and mutually violent relationships

Jeff R. Temple, Rebecca Weston, Linda L. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations


Despite equivocal findings on whether men or women are more violent, the negative impact of violence is greatest for women. To determine how gender asymmetry in perpetration affects women's health status, we conducted a study in two phases with 835 African American, Euro-American, and Mexican American low-income women in Project HOW: Health Outcomes of Women. In Phase 1, we used severity and frequency of women's and male partners' violence to create six groups: nonviolent (NV), uni-directional male (UM) perpetrator, uni-directional female (UF) perpetrator and, when both partners were violent, symmetrical (SYM), male primary perpetrator (MPP), and female primary perpetrator (FPP). The MPP group sustained the most threats, violence, sexual aggression, and psychological abuse. They also reported the most fear. Injury was highest in the MPP and FPP groups. In Phase 2, we examined group differences in women's health status over time for 535 participants, who completed five annual interviews. Surprisingly, women's health in the MPP and FPP violence groups was similar and generally worse than if violence was uni-directional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-359
Number of pages25
JournalViolence and victims
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes



  • Ethnicity
  • Longitudinal
  • Low-income women
  • Partner violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law

Cite this