Hamburger, Ph D, Division of Violence Prevention, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE, Mailstop F-64, Atlanta, GA 30341.Email: [email protected] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution License, which permits its use in any digital medium, provided the original work is properly cited and not altered. Authors grant Western Journal of Emergency Medicine a nonexclusive license to publish the manuscript. The study of reciprocity, however, has not been without controversy.The terms “reciprocity,” “mutual violence,” and “sex symmetry” are used interchangeably in the literature to suggest that males and females are both violent in dating or intimate relationships.
asked participants who indicated they had been on a date in the last 12 months about their dating violence experiences, using ten behaviorally specific items assessing a large spectrum of increasingly violent behaviors (e.g.scratched, hit/slapped to punched or hit with something that could hurt to threatened with a weapon and hurt badly enough to need medical care).For victimization, the item was “ These victimization and perpetration items, however, do NOT specify if the violence occurred in the same relationship.Given research indicating that one third of adolescent relationships last less than one month and another third last less than five months, note this possibility in their limitations by saying “...findings may pertain across dating relationships and as well as to multiple partners” (sic)(p.267), they fail to acknowledge that their data do not assess reciprocity.
The use of definitions consistent with the literature, particularly in the study of reciprocity, is critical to appropriately interpret and use research findings.
Research in this area must strive to use valid methods of data collection (e.g., collecting victimization and perpetration data from one member of a relationship about the violence experiences of both members) in order to make any claims about reciprocity.
Swahn et al.’s do not measure reciprocity as it has been defined in the literature on intimate partner and dating violence.
A reader who is not intimately familiar with the Linkages data, however, may not understand this fact given the title of the paper and limited information presented.
While they acknowledge that their findings may apply across dating relationships and to multiple partners, adequate information is not provided to allow readers to have a full understanding of how their operational definition of reciprocity affects their ability to measure this construct.
We contend that the operational definition of dating violence reciprocity used by Swahn et al.