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This review systematically examines the empirical literature to determine the support available for seven proposed Implicit Theories (ITs) held by heterosexual male and female perpetrators of intimate partner violence. Based on previous literature that has hypothesized and identified ITs in intimate partner violence (IPV) and other types of offenders, we suggest six potential ITs likely to be held by men and women: "Opposite sex is dangerous", "Relationship entitlement", "General entitlement", "Normalization of relationship violence", "Normalization of violence", and "It's not my fault". We suggest one extra IT held by male perpetrators: "I am the man". Electronic databases were searched from 1980 onwards, using predetermined relevant key words, to identify IPV research that has examined factors associated with each of the proposed seven ITs. Support was found for the existence of all seven ITs, but it differed in terms of strength, mainly due to the dearth or poor quality of empirical research on specific areas, especially in female perpetrated IPV. Implications for treatment and future directions are discussed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Original publication




Journal article


Aggression and Violent Behavior

Publication Date





496 - 505