Skip to content

This article appears in Vol. 5, No. 4/5 (April/ May 1999) of
the Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública/Pan American Journal of Public Health.

Violence in couples

Florentino Moreno Martín


This article describes variables related to different forms of violence in couples. These variables have been organized in a theoretical model that takes into account cultural factors, sociodemographic and family characteristics, attitudes, and other variables defined as inhibitors and facilitators of violence in conflict situations. For the ACTIVA project, a representative sample consisting of 10 821 people was interviewed in eight cities. For this research on couples, 6 184 of those responses were taken into consideration, from persons who were in a marriage or an unmarried relationship during the year before the interview. The data were obtained from verbal responses to a questionnaire completed in the interviewees' residences. The variables that were clearly associated with couples violence were: socioeconomic level (the fewer the economic resources, the greater the violence), gender (women reported both using and receiving more violence than men did, although the actual level of violence was similar), age (there was more violence between younger people), marital status (there was more violence between unmarried persons), childhood abuse (those most abused in childhood), excessive alcohol consumption (those who have gotten drunk), holding attitudes justifying violence, and having fewer skills to deal with conflicts. Acts of violence, which both men and women commit in relationships, originate in the socialization process, both through the practice of abuse as well as the transmission of values that lead to attitudes justifying violence. A number of things could help markedly reduce the levels of couples violence, including a balance of power between the two persons in the relationship, a modification of attitudes, an improvement in conflict-resolution skills, and a reduction in stress-producing factors.

Purchase Spanish language version of this article at Ingenta Select.

Subscribe to the Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública/ Pan American Journal of Public Health

Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization
525 Twenty-third Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037, United States of America
Tel.: +1 (202) 974-3000 Fax: +1 (202) 974-3663

© Pan American Health Organization. All rights reserved.