The control motive and marital violence

Richard B. Felson, Maureen C. Outlaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The role of the control motive in marital violence is examined using data on current and former marriages from the Survey of Violence and Threats of Violence Against Women and Men. The findings indicate no support for the position that husbands engage in more marital violence than wives because they are more controlling. In former marriages, we observe statistical interactions between gender and control: former husbands who were controlling or jealous were particularly likely to be verbally aggressive and to engage in violence. The controlling husbands (present and former), however, are not particularly likely to engage in violence that is frequent, injurious, or unprovoked. The evidence suggests that husband and wives may differ in their methods of control but not their motivation to control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-407
Number of pages21
JournalViolence and Victims
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Law


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