Partner physical abuse is a relatively common form of violence in our society. The 1975 and 1985 National Family Vi olence Surveys revealed that each year approximately 12% of married or cohabiting men and women in the United States engage in physical aggression against a partner, and approximately 3 to 5% engage in severe or life-threatening physically assaultive behaviors against a partner (Straus & Gelles, 1990). Partner abuse is not limited to adult heterosexual married and cohabiting relationships, but also occurs in a substantial number of adolescent dating relationships (Halpern, Oslak, Young, Martin, & Kupper, 2001) and same-sex romantic relationships (Renzetti & Miley, 1996). Although the statistics presented above only reflect the prevalence of partner abuse in the United States, partner abuse is currently recognized as an important problem throughout the world (Walker, 1999).

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