When violence erupts between spouses or dating partners, men have a reputation as perpetrators and women as victims.
An analysis of data on relationship violence in the general population now finds that, excluding murder and sexual assaults, women prove slightly more likely than men to commit one or more aggressive acts against a partner. Still, the data show that men are more likely than women to inflict injuries that require medical help, says psychologist John Archer of England's University of Central Lancashire.
In contrast to these findings on the general population, studies that primarily focus on battered women in shelters and men in court-ordered treatment programs for batterers and sexual offenders report that males exhibit a far more violent streak than females, Archer finds.
Archer, whose analysis appears in the September Psychological Bulletin along with commentaries by other psychologists, combined data from 82 studies examining sex differen