Distinguishing between Types of Domestic Violence

By Kacy Mixon, M.S., LMFT

Johnson, 2008 book
Johnson, M.P. (2008). A typology of domestic violence: Intimate terrorism, violence resistance, and situational couple violence. Lebanon, NH: Northeastern University Press.

Michael P. Johnson (2008), in his book A typology of domestic violence: Intimate terrorism, violent resistance, and situational couple violence, highlights various types of domestic violence and the relationship dynamics involved in each.  The book also attempts to dismantle over-generalizations that occur when research on domestic violence looks at it as a single phenomenon. Johnson adds:

“Family violence theorists, studying primarily situational couple violence, insist that women are as violent as men in intimate relationships; they present evidence from general survey to back up their theoretical arguments (p. 3)” [1].

When no consideration is placed on the possibility that two different phenomenon are being researched– situational couple violence and intimate terrorism—results can provide a muddled picture of domestic violence. Johnson proposes that looking at domestic violence from a more holistic, typological framework sheds light onto what we know and don’t know–or need to continue researching.

What does this mean for Military Professionals?

Different types of domestic violence call for different types of prevention and intervention strategies, as evidence points to different causes connected to the various types. Understanding various types of domestic violence, and subsequent relationship dynamics connected to these types, can better equip us to work with couples and families. Below are types of domestic violence and their identifying characteristics [1, 2, 3].

Types of DV
Johnson, M.P. (2008). A typology of domestic violence: Intimate terrorism, violence resistance, and situational couple violence. Lebanon, NH: Northeastern University Press.

Stay tuned for our next blog where we discuss assessment and intervention for the various types of domestic violence…

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