woman shouting at man

We all see women as the weaker and gentler sex; while that may be true, the opposite is the case in many relationships if a study conducted by lead researcher Elizabeth Bate is anything to go by.

Previous research has shown that men were more aggressive and controlling in relationships. However, Elizabeth Bates faults a certain aspect of the study; she said previous research looked at men in prison and women in refuge rather than the typical members of the public.

“The stereotypical popular view is still one of dominant control by men. That does occur but research over the last ten to 15 years has highlighted the fact that women are controlling and aggressive in relationships too.” She said.

To conduct the study, Psychologists at the University of Cumbria led by Elizabeth Bates questioned 1,104 young men and women using a scale of behaviour which ranged from shouting and insulting to pushing, beating and using weapons.

They found that women were ‘significantly’ more likely to be verbally and physically aggressive to men than vice versa.

Previous research has found men to be more of ‘intimate terrorists’ than women, but Elizabeth Bates says scientists may have to think again about the reasons for male violence against women, which previous studies said arose from ‘patriarchal values’ in which men are motivated to seek to control women’s behaviour using violence if necessary.

The researchers were surprised at the level of violence exhibited by women while responding to an anonymous questionnaire. According to Elizabeth Bates: “It wasn’t just pushing and shoving. Some people were circling the boxes for things like beating up, kicking, and threatening to use a weapon.”

The study concluded that violence was linked to controlling behaviour such as checking up on partners and persuading them not to see certain friends.

Findings from the study showed that, while women tended to be more physically aggressive towards their partners, men were more likely to show violence towards members of the same sex, including friends.

This study was conducted in 2014 by a team of researchers led by Elizabeth Bates who presented her findings at the annual meeting of the forensic division of the British Psychological Society, in Glasgow.