This study examined the extent to which controlling behavior precipitated disputes that involved adversaries in different social relationships.
The study tested the hypothesis that disputes between intimate partners and illegal business partners would be more likely than other disputes to involve control, because they involve a higher level of interdependence between the participants. A sample of male inmates (n = 479) and nonoffenders (n = 206) were asked whether control behaviors (e.g., verbal commands) precipitated their most recent disputes (n = 1,184). Bivariate probit regression models were used to examine mutual control and unilateral control. Disputes between intimate partners were more likely than disputes between adversaries in other relationships to be precipitated by mutual control, but not unilateral or one-sided control by men. Disputes between illegal business partners also predicted mutual control, but not unilateral control. Discussions of the motives for violence would benefit from consideration of the classic social psychological literature on power and influence. (publisher abstract modified)