Intimate Terrorism and Situational Couple Violence: Classification Variability Across Five Methods to Distinguish Johnson's Violent Relationship Types

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Johnson's (1995, 2008) theory of violent relationship types represents an opportunity to resolve debates surrounding intimate partner violence (IPV) prevalence and to adapt policy and treatment options for victims accordingly. However, the use of quantitative methods to distinguish between situational couple violence (SCV) and intimate terrorism (IT) remains in its initial stages of discovery. This study included a 2-phase (N = 840; via targeted community and agency sampling) online survey design comparing the utility and grouping variability across 5 methods of IT/SCV classification: victimization-variables and coercive-control-variable hierarchical clustering, vignette-choice, cutoff scoring, and expert coding. Findings are discussed in terms of contributions to differing IPV-research perspectives, researchers' understanding of existing classification methods, and practitioners' awareness of victims' voices in quantitative research.

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