Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, University of Fernando Pessoa, Praça 9 de Abril, 349, 4249-004 Porto, Portugal Received 17 April 2014; Revised 13 July 2014; Accepted 29 July 2014; Published 28 August 2014Academic Editor: Julianne C. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Stets and Straus , however, found lower levels of violence in dating partners but Rouse et al.
 found a similar pattern of results in terms of violence levels in married and dating partners.
This evidence underscores the need to study the progression from dating violence to marital violence, through developing longitudinal studies that seek to compare evolutionary patterns of violence.
Some authors  have drawn attention to the undeniable relevance of examining theoretical and practical similarities and differences between these types of violence.
The present study aims at expanding our understanding of violence in intimate relationships by comparing dating and married couples.
Research suggests that not only does violence tend to escalate in frequency and severity over time  but also that violence during dating is a strong precursor of marital violence, especially if the abusive love relationship persists over time .
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% .
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.
Regarding violence in married couples, the World Report on Violence and Health , based on information collected in 38 countries, places rates of lifetime prevalence at between 10% and 76%.