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Recent interest in the study of physical aggression/coercion in dating violence follows more than a decade of research on marital violence and violence against children. In the 1980's, studies have shown the frequency of violence in dating relationships to be approximately as high as in marriage (Makepeace, 1981, 1983; Laner and Thompson, 1982; Gate, et. al. 1982 and others). These studies revealed 20% or more of those sampled reported at least one incident of dating violence. Consistent with studies of marital violence, incidents are usually perceived as being relatively mild, involving slapping, pushing, and shoving (Henton, et. al., 1983; Makepeace 1981; Gate, et. al., 1982; Straus, et al., 1980). Violence patterns in relationships are evidently established early; Henton et. al (1983) reported a 12.1% violence rate among high school couples, and researchers studying college students have noted that violence frequently begins prior to high school graduation (e.g. Olday and Wesley, 1987). Although available dating violence research clearly underscores the importance of the phenomenon as an area of study, relatively little attention has been directed toward the effects of violence on these relationships: e.g. their stability, and likelihood of resulting in marriage. In many intimate relationships partners appear to endure violence for considerable periods of time. In Stacey and Shupe's (1983) study of residents of a shelter for battered wives, 28% indicated that they had tolerated physical abuse for one to twoyears and 26% reported being victims of abuse for more than five years. In O'Brien's (1971) study of divorce applicants, 48% of those involved in violent marriages reported violence to be an integral part of their marital interaction. In premarital relationships, Makepeace (1983) found that 30% of those experiencing violence in a dating relationship experienced it more than once. Gate et. al. (1982) found that those who said the dating relationship worsened because of the violence also said that they had experienced multiple violent acts.



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