Why do intimate partners disagree about violence in their relationship?


Noel, HarmoniJoie (2010). Why do intimate partners disagree about violence in their relationship?. 2010 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.


Using a sample of 1,269 dating, cohabitating, and married young adult couples from the Romantic Partners Add Health data, this study explores the causes of disagreement in reports of intimate partner violence. Disagreement occurs when one partner reports physical violence in their relationship but the other partner does not. Errors or breakdowns in how respondents go through the process of answering survey questions may help explain disagreement about partner violence. I created proxies for errors in the question response process and I found that several of them were related to disagreement about partner violence. For example, consistent with my hypotheses I found that men and women who were more committed to their relationship were more likely to underreport perpetration. It is likely that people who are more invested in their relationship may have more to lose if it were to end; therefore, they underreport perpetration for fear of it jeopardizing the stability of their relationship. By identifying and understanding the causes of disagreement the goal of this study is to help survey methodologists and partner violence researchers work towards reducing or accounting for disagreement in order to improve the accuracy and reliability of estimates for intimate partner violence.



Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

2010 Add Health Users Conference


Noel, HarmoniJoie

Year Published


City of Publication

Bethesda, MD

Reference ID