A Biopsychosocial Model for Understanding Relationship Aggression

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Spouse Abuse; Aggression; Domestic Violence




Aggression in adult, intimate relationships is a significant problem with far reaching effects on victims, perpetrators, their families, and society. Recognizing the import of the problem, the U.S. Department of Justice has established a Violence Against Women office, and many states have enacted legislation to protect victims and deal with perpetrators. It is urgent that we understand the dynamics of relationship aggression so that effective interventions and preventive programs can be developed. This article reviews the current status of research on relationship aggression and identifies several omissions, most notably, ignorance of the potential contributions of biological factors. Recent research regarding the relevance of biological factors is reviewed and a Biopsychosocial model is presented. Finally, some suggestions are made for future research.

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Citation: Rosenbaum, A., Geffner, R. & Benjamin, S. (1997). A Biopsychosocial Model for Understanding Relationship Aggression. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 1(1), 57-79. doi:10.1300/J146v01n01_04. Link to article on publisher's website