Sex Roles

, Volume 81, Issue 1–2, pp 1–15 | Cite as

What about the Male Victims? Exploring the Impact of Gender Stereotyping on Implicit Attitudes and Behavioural Intentions Associated with Intimate Partner Violence

  • Elizabeth A. BatesEmail author
  • Linda K. Kaye
  • Charlotte R. Pennington
  • Iain Hamlin
Original Article


Although intimate partner violence (IPV) is considered stereotypically as a gendered phenomenon, empirical evidence contradicts such gender asymmetry in reported rates of victimisation and perpetration. The current research explored the impact of stereotype priming on implicit attitudes associated with IPV victimisation (Study 1) and perpetration (Study 2), and further examined behavioural intentions associated with hypothetical gendered scenarios of IPV. Participants recruited in the United Kingdom were primed with either stereotype congruent, incongruent or no information about IPV victimisation (Study 1, n = 122) or perpetration rates (Study 2, n = 101). They then completed an Implicit Association Test and reported their subjective norms, self-efficacy, behavioural intentions, and outcome expectancies pertaining to different scenarios depicting gendered IPV. Findings indicate that priming an incongruent stereotype did not impact significantly on implicit or explicit attitudes toward IPV. Gendered scenarios were found to be influential on explicit attitudes, with IPV less likely to be identified toward male victims and considered more acceptable compared to when the victim was female. Moreover, individuals reported feeling more capable and likely to intervene in an act of IPV when the victim was female compared to male, were more likely to report such an incident, and anticipated greater outcomes. These findings highlight the need for an inclusive research approach that recognises men’s victimisation.


Intimate partner violence Stereotypes Implicit association test Gender Behavioural intentions Domestic violence 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

We confirm that the research protocol adheres to BPS and APA ethical guidelines. We do not see any potential conflicts of interests, we have adhered to ethical guidelines from our individual institutions as well as our professional bodies. We also sought and gained informed consent from participants.

Supplementary material

11199_2018_949_MOESM1_ESM.docx (45 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 45 kb)


  1. Addis, M. E., & Mahalik, J. R. (2003). Men, masculinity, and the contexts of help seeking. American Psychologist, 58, 5–14. Scholar
  2. Ajzen, I. (1985). From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In J. Kuhl & J. Beckmann (Eds.), Action control (pp. 11–39). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Ajzen, I. (1987). Attitudes, traits, and actions: Dispositional prediction of behavior in personality and social psychology. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 20, pp. l–63). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 179–211. Scholar
  5. Ajzen, I., & Madden, T. J. (1986). Prediction of goal-directed behavior: Attitudes, intentions, and perceived behavioral control. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 22, 453–474.Google Scholar
  6. Ambady, N., Paik, S. K., Steele, J., Owen-Smith, A., & Mitchell, J. P. (2004). Deflecting negative self-relevant stereotype activation: The effects of individuation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40, 401–408. Scholar
  7. Archer, J. (2000). Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 651–680. Scholar
  8. Archer, J. (2004). Sex differences in real world settings: A meta-analytic review. Review of General Psychology, 8, 291–322. Scholar
  9. Archer, J. (2006). Cross-cultural differences in physical aggression between partners: A social-role analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10, 133–153. Scholar
  10. Armitage, C., & Conner, M. (2001). Efficacy of the theory of planned behaviour: A meta-analytic review. British Journal of Social Psychology, 40, 471–499. Scholar
  11. Bates, E. A. (2017, November). Hidden victims: Men and their experiences of domestic violence. Paper presented at ManKind initiative conference, London, UK.Google Scholar
  12. Bates, E. A. (2018). Contexts for women’s aggression against men. In: T. Shackelford, V. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Cham: Springer.
  13. Bates, E. A., & Graham-Kevan, N. (2016). Is the presence of control related to help-seeking behavior? A test of Johnson’s assumptions regarding sex-differences and the role of control in intimate partner violence. Partner Abuse, 7, 3–25. Scholar
  14. Bates, E. A., Graham-Kevan, N., & Archer, J. (2014). Testing predictions from the male control theory of men’s partner violence. Aggressive Behaviour, 40, 42–55. Scholar
  15. Bates, E. A., Graham-Kevan, N., Bolam, L. T., & Thornton, A. J. V. (2017). A review of domestic violence perpetrator programs in the UK. Partner Abuse, 8, 3–46. Scholar
  16. Blair, I. V., & Banaji, M. R. (1996). Automatic and controlled processes in stereotype priming. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 1142–1163. Scholar
  17. Bookwala, J., Frieze, I. H., Smith, C., & Ryan, K. (1992). Predictors of dating violence: A multivariate analysis. Violence and Victims, 7, 297–311.Google Scholar
  18. Bussey, K., & Bandura, A. (1999). Social cognitive theory of gender development and differentiation. Psychological Review, 106, 676–713. Scholar
  19. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). National intimate partner and sexual violence survey: 2010 summary report. Atlanta: Author.Google Scholar
  20. Cohen, J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112, 155–159. Scholar
  21. de Groot, J., & Steg, L. (2006). Impact of transport pricing on quality of life, acceptability, and intentions to reduce car use: An exploratory study in five European countries. Journal of Transport Geography, 14(6), 463–470.Google Scholar
  22. Dijksterhuis, A., & Bargh, J. A. (2001). The perception-behavior expressway: Automatic effects of social perception on social behavior. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (pp. 1–40). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  23. Dobash, R. E., & Dobash, R. P. (1979). Violence against wives: A case against the patriarchy. London: Open Books.Google Scholar
  24. Douglas, E. M., & Hines, D. A. (2011). Helpseeking experiences of men who sustain intimate partner violence: An overlooked population and implications for practice. Journal of Family Violence, 26, 473–485. Scholar
  25. Drijber, B. C., Reijnders, U. J. L., & Ceelen, M. (2013). Male victims of domestic violence. Journal of Family Violence, 28, 173–178. Scholar
  26. Dutton, D. (2006). The gender debate and the feminist paradigm. In D. G. Dutton (Ed.), Rethinking domestic violence (pp. 109–129). Vancouver: UBS Press.Google Scholar
  27. Dutton, D. G., & Nicholls, T. L. (2005). The gender paradigm in domestic violence research and theory: Part 1 – The conflict of theory and data. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 10, 680–714. Scholar
  28. Eagly, A. H., & Crowley, M. (1986). Gender and helping behavior: A meta-analytic review of the social psychological literature. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 283–308. Scholar
  29. Erickson, K. A., Jonnson, M., Langile, J. I., & Walsh, Z. (2017). Victim gender, rater attitudes, and rater violence history influence perceptions of intimate partner violence. Violence and Victims, 32, 533–544. Scholar
  30. Felson, R. B. (2002). Violence and gender reexamined. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  31. Felson, R. B., & Feld, S. L. (2009). When a man hits a woman: Moral evaluations and reporting of violence to the police. Aggressive Behavior, 35, 477–488. Scholar
  32. Felson, R. B., & Paré, P. (2005). The reporting of domestic violence and sexual assault by nonstrangers to the police. Journal of Marriage and Family, 67, 597–610. Scholar
  33. Fisher, C. (2013). Changed and changing gender and family roles and domestic violence in African refugee background communities post-settlement in Perth, Australia. Violence Against Women, 19, 833–847. Scholar
  34. Forscher, P. S., Lai, C. K., Axt, J., Ebersole, C. R., Herman, M., Devine, P. G., & Nosek, B. A. (2018, July 13). A meta-analysis of change in implicit bias.; Accessed 15 May 2018.
  35. Galdas, P. M., Cheater, F., & Marshall, P. (2005). Men and health help-seeking behaviour: Literature review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 49, 616–623. Scholar
  36. Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (1996). The ambivalent sexism inventory: Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 491–512. Scholar
  37. Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., & Schwartz, J. L. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The implicit association test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 1464–1480. Scholar
  38. Greenwald, A. G., Nosek, B. A., & Banaji, M. R. (2003). Understanding and using the implicit association test: I. An improved scoring algorithm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 197–216. Scholar
  39. Greenwald, A. G., Poehlman, T. A., Uhlmann, E. L., & Banaji, M. R. (2009). Understanding and using the implicit association test: III. Meta-analysis of predictive validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 17–41. Scholar
  40. Harris, R. J., & Cook, C. A. (1994). Attributions about spouse abuse: It matters who the batterers and victims are. Sex Roles, 30, 553–565. Scholar
  41. Hines, D. A., Brown, J., & Dunning, E. (2007). Characteristics of callers to the domestic abuse helpline for men. Journal of Family Violence, 22(2), 63–72. Scholar
  42. Hodell, E. C., Wasarhaley, N. E., Rose Lynch, K., & Golding, J. M. (2014). Mock juror gender biases and perceptions of self-defense claims in intimate partner homicide. Journal of Family Violence, 29, 495–506. Scholar
  43. Hogan, K. (2016). Mens experiences of female-perpetrated intimate partner violence: A qualitative exploration (unpublished thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from
  44. Ialongo, C. (2017). The logic of equivalence testing and its use in laboratory medicine. Biochemia medica: Biochemia medica, 27(1), 5–13.Google Scholar
  45. Johnson, M. P. (1995). Patriarchal terrorism and common couple violence: Two forms of violence against women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 283–294. Scholar
  46. Johnson, M. P. (2006). Conflict and control: Gender symmetry and asymmetry in domestic violence. Violence Against Women, 12, 1003–1018. Scholar
  47. Kindermann, H. (2017). Priming and context effects of banner ads on consumer based brand equity: A pilot study. In F. H. Nah & C. H. Tan (Eds.), HCI in business, government and organizations. Supporting business. HCIBGO 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 10294). Accessed 15 May 2018.
  48. Lai, C. K., Marini, M., Lehr, S., Cerruti, C., Shin, J. E., Joy-Gaba, J., … Nosek, B. A. (2014). Reducing implicit racial preferences: I. A comparative investigation of 17 interventions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143, 1765–1785.Google Scholar
  49. Lakens, D. (2017). Equivalence tests: A practical primer for t tests, correlations, and meta-analyses. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 355–362.Google Scholar
  50. Lakens, D., Smell, A., & Isager, P. (2018). Equivalence testing for psychological research: A tutorial. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 1, 259–269. Scholar
  51. Langer, E. J. (1975). The illusion of control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 311–328. Scholar
  52. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Misra, T. A., Selwyn, C., & Rohling, M. L. (2012). Rates of bidirectional versus unidirectional intimate partner violence across samples, sexual orientations, and race/ethnicities: A comprehensive review. Partner Abuse, 3, 199–230. Scholar
  53. Lerner, M. J. (1977). The justice motive: Some hypotheses as to its origins and forms. Journal of Personality, 45, 1–52. Scholar
  54. Lövestad, S., Löve, J., Vaez, M., & Krantz, G. (2017). Prevalence of intimate partner violence and its association with symptoms of depression: A cross-sectional study based on a female population sample in Sweden. BMC Public Health, 17, 335. Scholar
  55. Macrae, C. N., Stangor, C., & Hewstone, M. (1996). Stereotypes and stereotyping. London: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  56. McCarrick, J., Davis-McCabe, C., & Hirst-Winthrop, S. (2016). Men’s experiences of the criminal justice system following female perpetrated intimate partner violence. Journal of Family Violence, 31(2), 203–213. Scholar
  57. McCarthy, R. J., Hartnett, J. L., Header, J. D., Scherer, C. R., Wood, S. E., Nichols, A. L., … Walker, W. R. (2018). An investigation of abstract construal on impression formation: A multi-lab replication of McCarthy and Skowronski (2011). International Review of Social Psychology, 31, 15.
  58. Menard, K. S., Anderson, A. L., & Godboldt, S. M. (2009). Gender differences in intimate partner recidivism: A 5-year follow up. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36, 61–76. Scholar
  59. Nelson, T. D. (2009). Handbook of prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  60. Nosek, B. A., Greenwald, A. G., & Banaji, M. R. (2005). Understanding and using the implicit association test: II. Method variables and construct validity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 166–180. Scholar
  61. Nosek, B. A., Smyth, F. L., Sriram, N., Lindner, N. M., Devos, T., Ayala, A., ... Greenwald, A. G. (2009). National differences in gender–science stereotypes predict national sex differences in science and math achievement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(26), 10593–10597.Google Scholar
  62. Nosek, B. A., Hawkins, C. B., & Frazier, R. S. (2012). Implicit social cognition: From measures to mechanisms. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15, 152–159. Scholar
  63. Office for National Statistics. (2015). Chapter 4: Violent crime and sexual offences- Intimate personal violence and serious sexual assault. Retrieved from
  64. Rhodes, R. E., Jones, L. W., & Courneya, K. S. (2002). Extending the theory of planned behavior in the exercise domain: A comparison of social support and subjective norm. Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 73, 193–199. Scholar
  65. Rohmer, O., & Louvet, E. (2012). Implicit measures of the stereotype content associated with disability. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 732–740. Scholar
  66. Santana, M. C., Raj, A., Decker, M. R., Marche, A. L., & Silverman, J. G. (2006). Masculine gender roles associated with increased sexual risk and intimate partner violence perpetration among young adult men. Journal of Urban Health, 83, 575–585. Scholar
  67. Scarduzio, J. A., Carlyle, K. E., Lockwood Harris, K., & Savage, M. W. (2017). “Maybe she was provoked”: Exploring gender stereotypes about male and female perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Violence Against Women, 23, 89–113. Scholar
  68. Seelau, S., & Seelau, E. (2005). Gender-role stereotypes and perceptions of heterosexual, gay and lesbian domestic violence. Journal of Family Violence, 20, 363–371. Scholar
  69. Sorenson, S. B., & Taylor, C. A. (2005). Female aggression toward male intimate partners: An examination of social norms in a community-based sample. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 29, 78–96. Scholar
  70. Sugarman, D., & Frankel, S. L. (1996). Patriarchal ideology and wife-assault: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Family Violence, 11, 13–40. Scholar
  71. Sylaska, K. M., & Walters, A. S. (2014). Testing the extent of the gender trap: College students’ perceptions of and reactions to intimate partner violence. Sex Roles, 70, 134–145. Scholar
  72. Terry, D. J., & O’Leary, J. E. (1995). The theory of planned behaviour: The effects of perceived behavioral control and self-efficacy. British Journal of Social Psychology, 34, 199–220. Scholar
  73. Terry, D. J., Hogg, M. A., & White, K. M. (1999). The theory of planned behaviour: Self-identity, social identity and group norms. British Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 225–244.Google Scholar
  74. Walsh, J., Spangaro, J., & Soldatic, K. (2015). Global understandings of domestic violence. Nursing & Health Sciences, 17, 1–4. Scholar
  75. Welch, W. W., & Barlau, A. N. (2013). Addressing survey nonresponse issues: Implications for ATE principal investigators, evaluators, and researchers. Retrieved from
  76. Wheeler, S. C., & Petty, R. E. (2000). The effects of stereotype activation on behavior: A review of possible mechanisms. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 797–826. Scholar
  77. Wheeler, S. C., Javis, B. G., & Petty, R. E. (2001). Think unto others: The self-destructive impact of negative racial stereotypes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 37, 173–180. Scholar
  78. Whitaker, D. J., Haileyesus, T., Swahn, M., & Saltzman, L. S. (2007). Differences in frequency of violence and reported injury between relationships with reciprocal and nonreciprocal intimate partner violence. American Journal of Public Health, 97, 941–947. Scholar
  79. Williams, D. M., Anderson, E. S., & Winett, R. A. (2005). A review of the outcome expectancy construct in physical activity research. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 29, 70–79. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CumbriaCarlisle, CumbriaUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyEdge Hill UniversityOrmskirkUK
  3. 3.Department of Health and Social SciencesUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK
  4. 4.School of PsychologyUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations