Premarital Abuse: A Social Psychological Perspective

Rodney M. Cate, June M. Henton, James Koval, F. Scott Christopher, Sally Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations


Little research has examined the incidence and dynamics of abuse between premarital partners at all levels of commitment. The present questionnaire study found the incidence of premarital abuse to be substantial and largely reciprocal in nature. Abuse typically began after some degree of commitment was established. Abuse was usually seen as caused by anger, although the effect of abuse on the relationship was not routinely seen as detrimental. It appeared that one possible explanation for abuse in these relationships was that those who stayed in abusive situations reported having fewer alternatives to the violent relationship than those who had terminated an abusive liaison. In general, the respondents had negative attitudes toward violence in relationships. However, those who had experienced abuse were more accepting of violence than those who had not experienced premarital abuse. The discussion focuses on several suggestions for further research to construct a clearer picture of premarital abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-90
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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