Partner Abuse in Ethnic Minority and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Populations

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This review seeks to synthesize the current state of knowledge regarding gender differences in rates of physical and psychological intimate partner violence (IPV) prevalence among the four largest racial/ethnic groups in the United States, compares rates of physical and psychological IPV between sexual minorities and heterosexuals and among subgroups of sexual minorities (gay men, lesbians, bisexuals), and summarizes correlates and risk factors that are associated with rates of IPV in both ethnic and sexual minorities.

A systematic search of the published literature in the past 40 years using various search engines (e.g., PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science) was conducted. The review identified 55 studies that met criteria. Few gender differences in rates of physical and psychological aggression were found among African American, Hispanic American, Asian American, and Native American men and women. Psychological aggression was most frequently reported. Bidirectional violence, which primarily took the form of minor aggression, was the most frequently reported form of physical violence. When unidirectional aggression was assessed, it was more likely to be female perpetrated, particularly among African Americans. These gender patterns were consistent across general population, student, and community studies. Respondents who reported a history of same-sex cohabitation and those who identified as sexual minorities reported higher rates of IPV than those who reported only a history of opposite-sex cohabitation and those who identified as heterosexual.

Regarding sexual minority subgroup differences, bisexuals appeared to be at a greater risk of IPV, and victimization among transgendered individuals has largely been neglected in the literature. Substance abuse and use, marginalized socioeconomic status in the form of family and neighborhood poverty, and exposure to violence during childhood as a witness or victim of violence in the family of origin were consistently linked to elevated rates of IPV. Associations also were found between level of acculturation and minority stress in the form of internalized homophobia and frequency of discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, the complex association among these variables was less clear across racial groups and sexual orientation. Research limitations and future research directions are discussed.

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Partner Abuse





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