Background The United Nations identifies male-dominated Africa as one of the worst regions for a woman to live globally, in terms of intimate partner aggression (IPA). There have been efforts the past two decades, to empower women through education and employment. Previous research though has typically focused on males’ physical aggression to understand the sex differences in IPA resulting in the lack of understanding of the nature of sex the differences in IPA in male-dominated Africa. This current study explored sex differences in IPA in forms of aggression typically used in intimate relationships in both males and females in Ghana with the DIAS-Adult instrument.
Methods 602 males and 602 females in heterosexual intimate relationship aged above 21 years in Ghana filled in a questionnaire measuring victimisation from and perpetration of aggressive behaviour in intimate partner relationships using the Direct Indirect Aggression Scales for Adults (DIAS-Adult, Österman & Björkqvist, 2009). The age difference between males (mean age 44.8 yrs., SD 13.4) and females (mean age 43.4 yrs., SD 13.6) was not significant. The subscales measure victimisation from and perpetration of physical, socially manipulative aggression, nonverbal, cyber and economic aggression. The alpha scores for the 10 subscales were all above .68.
Results Results show that females scored significantly higher than males on being perpetrators of physical, socially manipulative aggression, nonverbal and cyber aggression. Males scored significantly higher than females on being victimised by their partner of physical, socially manipulative aggression, nonverbal and cyber aggression.
Conclusions The findings suggest that developmental efforts to empower women might be enabling females become more independent, allowing them to redefine their roles in the society, however, this may also be having unintended negative effect on female aggression in intimate relationships.
- Direct and indirect aggression
- heterosexual relationships
- sex differences
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