Power in Aggressor-Victim Relationships: Exploring Social, Physical, Gender- and Ethnicity-Based Power

Naomi C.Z. Andrews, Laura D. Hanish, Carol Lynn Martin, Dawn DeLay, Kimberly A. Updegraff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Theory highlights power in aggressor-victim relationships, yet empirical work assessing dyadic power is largely absent. Variability in power balance versus imbalance within aggressor-victim dyads (based on social, physical, gender- and ethnicity-based power) was explored. Participants (N = 952; grade 6–8; 50% girls, 44% Hispanic/Latina/o) nominated aggressors and victims (4662 aggressor-victim dyads; 642 strong dyads [based on reputational strength]; 169 sustained dyads [based on longevity]). Dyadic social power (social network centrality and prestige) was calculated from friendship nominations. Self-report was used for dyadic physical (body mass index), gender- and ethnicity-based power. Across power indicators, there were more power-balanced than imbalanced dyads (particularly for strong and sustained dyads). The findings challenge theoretical notions that aggressors are more powerful than their victims and have implications for aggressor-victim relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-224
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Aggressor-victim dyad
  • Ethnicity-based power
  • Gender-based power
  • Physical power
  • Power differential
  • Social power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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