U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

A Nationally Representative Study of Conflicts, Dyadic Interactions, and the Victim-Offender Overlap

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $998,044)

Nearly five decades of research has revealed a strong association between criminal offending and victimization. This two-year project will investigate the etiology of the victim-offender overlap through the design and application of new measurement tools to understand the nature of interpersonal conflicts including mechanisms that generate conflict escalation. Drawing on a probability-based panel of an integrated system of online and telephone survey modalities (AmeriSpeak), researchers from NORC at the University of Chicago and from the University of Iowa will first survey a nationally representative general population sample of 18-32 year olds (n=1,800 individuals). Second, the team will separately survey both members of a romantic partnership (one of whom will have baseline data from the general population survey) to study conflicts and disputes in an intimate partner setting at two months follow-up (n= 857 dyads) and six months later (8 months follow-up with n=600 dyads). Dyadic models allow researchers to model relationships as a unit of analysis, and allow them to circumvent respondent favorability bias in survey responses, providing a novel third-party report of the main respondentÂ’s behavioral tendencies. The proposed project will create a platform to understand the nature and dynamics of a broad range of conflicts and how they lead to violence and the victim-offender overlap. The research objectives are (1) to determine the nature, incidence, and coincidence of forms of interpersonal conflict and resulting conflict management styles in an existing nationally-representative cohort of 18-32 year old adults; and (2) to assess the nature of conflicts and conflict management behavioral patterns within and outside intimate partner dyads, using information reported by both the prime respondents and their intimate partners on themselves, each other, and conflicts with other parties. We use this novel data to examine the behavioral patterns that generate the victim-offender overlap. This is the first nationally representative study to examine dyadic and 3rd party data on conflict patterns and conflict management styles, to investigate cross-situational consistency, and escalation patterns to understand the overlap. Descriptive and modeling analyses will provide novel information on the nature and frequency of conflicts experienced, and patterns of conflict management styles. The project will disseminate results via conference presentations, manuscripts, and white papers/topic briefs to key stakeholders at major police departments, school districts, and large organizations. Additionally, results will be disseminated as a scholarly content for use in college courses and graduate training.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.


Date Created: September 27, 2015