Intimate partner violence (IPV) has garnered increasing public and academic attention in the past several decades. Theories about the causes, prevention, and intervention for IPV have developed in complexity. This article provides an overview of the historical roots of IPV, as well as a description and critique of historical and contemporary theories of IPV causes and women's responses to IPV. This is followed by a discussion of the most current theoretical developments and application of critical theories to the problem of IPV. The article concludes with theoretically based implications for nursing practice and research with women who are experiencing IPV.