Background Previous studies on gender differences in aggression focused on physical aspects of the behaviour, and often showed males more aggressive than their female counterparts. This though, does not mean women are non-aggressive. In this paper, we examine the nature of women’s aggressive behaviour towards men in their intimate partner relationship in two different societies.
Methods The present study employs complementary methodologies to provide quantitative and qualitative data on intimate partner aggression. It applies the construct direct and indirect aggression to investigate aggressive behaviour in heterosexual intimate relationships in Ghana using the Direct Indirect Scales for Adult (DIAS-Adult), (n = 1204), and by analysing ethnographic interviews and observations conducted over two years in Bosnian Muslims in Närpes, Finland, in order to have a holistic and culturally meaningful perspective on aggression.
Results Females were found to victimise and perpetrate aggressive acts more than males in Ghana. Findings on Bosnian Muslim women in Närpiö reveal the presence of direct verbal aggression and indirect aggression towards their intimate men partners. Survey and ethnographic findings within the two cultures converge in suggesting that women also employ aggression to deal with frustrations and conflict.
Conclusions Through changing times, women are becoming increasingly active in their “male-dominated” societies and are becoming much more independent and self-motivated. From the two study results, we glean that developmental efforts to empower women have an impact on their use of aggression in intimate relationships and there is a presence of male victimisation.
- Intimate partner aggression
- female aggression
- socioeconomic status
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