Violence in lesbian and gay relationships: Theory, prevalence, and correlational factors

Leslie K. Burke, Diane R. Follingstad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


This article reviews and critiques the existing empirical literature examining interpersonal violence in lesbian and gay relationships. Studies assessing psychological, physical and nonconsenting sexual forms of violence in intimate, same-sex relationships are reviewed, and the findings are integrated with what is known about partner abuse in heterosexual relationships. Nineteen are described and categorized according to the specific questions being addressed. This body of literature suggests that prevalence rates of same-sex partner abuse are high and its correlates show many similarities to those identified in incidents of heterosexual partner abuse. This article addresses the need for substantially increased efforts in this field of study in terms of well-controlled and theory-driven research design. In terms of other implications of this body of literature, the high prevalence rate of partner abuse among lesbian and gay populations needs to be recognized by providers of both physical and mental health services who potentially treat victims, so that they can more accurately identify appropriate interventions. More research is warranted, not only in the general area of lesbian and gay partner abuse, but in examining victims treatment modalities and their effectiveness in helping perpetrators to end the cycle of violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-512
Number of pages26
JournalClinical Psychology Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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