When comparing violence in both relational contexts, we found that, in terms of perpetration, more dating partners reported physical abuse and severe forms of physical abuse than married partners. Marital violence has been a widely studied topic since the seventies, whereas violence between dating partners has become the object of growing attention since Makepeace pioneer study in 1981 .
This study revealed that one in every five college students was affected by this problem, whereas 61% of participants revealed that they knew young people who had gone through an abusive dating experience.
An intercultural study in 31 universities from 16 countries showed that the rate of physical assault of dating partners in the previous 12 months ranged from 17% to 45% .
As for the United States of America, researchers  found rates of lifetime prevalence ranging from 17.4% to 25.5%.
With respect to dating violence, research has also produced a wide variation of results, suggesting prevalence rates of offenders or victims ranging from 12.1%  to 72.4% .
In the following literature review, we begin by showing how research in the area of marital and dating violence has increased; we then present and discuss the results of the few available studies comparing levels of violence across these two distinct relational contexts—marriage and dating; finally, we concentrate on investigations that analyze the relationships between attitudes and behaviors.
A sample of 3,716 participants, aged 15 to 67 years, filled in one attitudinal questionnaire and a self-report instrument on abuse perpetration and victimization.Attitudinal data revealed a general disapproval of violence use, with greater violence support among males and married participants.