Document Type


Publication Date

January 2005


This study examines perceptions of personal distress, interpersonal functioning and family climate reported by men and women involved in unidirectional versus bidirectional spouse abuse. Participants were 7253 offenders treated by the USAF Family Advocacy Program from 1988 to 1996. Over a quarter of the sample is female and included among them were both undirectional and bidirectional offenders. Grouping factors for the analysis are gender, directionality of aggression, history of abuse in childhood, history of recidivism, and severity of aggression. Females and offenders raised in abusive homes reported more negative perceptions across the measured spheres. Unidirectional abusers reported more personal distress, but bidirectional abuse had more conflicted family climates. Few differences were noted in offenders' perceptions based on the severity of their abuse or their history of repeat offenses. Tests for interactions yielded no reliable pattern indicating that grouping factors were related to outcomes in an additive fashion.