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PSYC39 Textbook - Chapter 8.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
David Nussbaum

PSYC39: Psychology and Law Chapter 8: Behind Closed Doors: Family Violence Violence within the Family: Background Issues  Important to clarify the distinction between prevalence and incidence o Prevalence refers to the total number of people who have experienced violence in a specified time period o Incidence is the number of new cases identified or reported at a given point in time, usually one year Types of Violence  Neglect is the most common form of abuse in both children and the elderly  Psychological abuse is often described by individuals as one of the most hurtful types of abuse  Financial abuse is most often studied in the context of elder abuse but can also occur within intimate relationships Ecological Model of Family Violence  Provides a useful way to conceptualize the interaction among factors related to violence in intimate relationships, child abuse and elder abuse  Model focuses on the relationship between multiple levels of influence in understanding family violence, including individual, relationship, community and societal factors  Individual level – biological and personal history of the abuser and victim need to be considered such as age, substance use and history of abuse  Relationship level – a person’s closest social circle of peers, partners, and family members may contribute to increased risk o Important factors include level of stress or exposure to violence  Community level incorporates places such as schools and neighborhoods that are associated with becoming a victim or perpetrator of family violence o Factors include poverty, social isolation, and community disorganization  Societal Level includes broad society factors in which violence is supported or discouraged o Factors include social norms, cultural beliefs, and police and government policies Intimate Partner Violence Intimate partner violence (also called spousal violence) occurs between intimate partners who are living together or separated  Varying in type of severity: physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse Intimate Partners: A Potential for Risk  According to a 1993 Statistic Canada Violence Against Women Survey, 51% of women reported one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16  Conflict Tactics Scale o Assess how a person and their partner resolve conflict PSYC39: Psychology and Law o 18 items ranging from constructive problem-solving to verbal aggression and physical aggression o Limitations:  Failure to assess for the context and purpose of violent acts, few items measuring psychological aggression, no assessment of sexual aggression, and no assessment of the consequences of aggression  CTS-2 o changes made to the original CTS are  Physical aggression scale was expanded to include more acts  Verbal aggression renamed as psychological aggression  Reasoning was renamed negotiation  Added measures of sexual aggression  Better description of minor v. more serious forms of act  Items from each scale were interspersed to minimize response sets o Contains 78 items o Dominant instrument for assessing violence among dating and cohabiting partners  Conflict Tactics Scale – designed to measure psychological, physical and sexual violence in intimate relationships, including threats and sexual assault over both the past 12 months and past 5 years o One year preceding the survey, 2% of men and women experienced physical/sexual assault o 5 year preceding the survey, 7% female and 6% male experienced physical or sexual assault o Women experience more severe forms of violence o Violence against women (36%) are more likely to be reported than violence against men (17%)  Higher rates of abuse among women living in Ontario public housing o 19% of women reported physical assault over the past year, 8 times the average reported in the national survey  The World Health Organization o Lifetime rates of physical violence ranged from 13% in Japan to 61% in Peru o Sexual violence from 6% in Japan and Serbia to 59% in Ethiopia o Physical and sexual violence often experienced by women in rural as compared to urban settings  International Dating Violence Study used Conflict Tactics Scale-2 to examine prevalence of dating violence o Even the lowest rate (Israel), 14% of students were physically assaulted by significant other within the previous 12 months o Canadian dating violence rates were in the lower half of the nations surveyed  1/5 experienced physical assault within the previous 12 months o U.S and Canada had relatively high rates of sexual coercion  Spousal violence is most common in Nunavut, PEI, Quebec, and Alberta o Lowest comes from B.C., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia  83% of police reported spousal violence across provinces are female PSYC39: Psychology and Law  Police charges most prevalent in Manitoba (92%) and Ontario (90%) o Least prevalent is Newfoundland (56%) and New Brunswick (57%)  Akers and Kaukinen o Married women were less likely to report violence to the police  May be due to stronger financial and emotional ties  Women with children living at home who witness their abuse were more likely to contact the police  Minority women than Caucasian women are more likely to report spousal violence  Likelihood of reporting increases with age, but in older samples this effect is reduced  Women are more likely to call if they were injured or if a weapon was involved  If abuser was drinking or damaged property, victim more likely to report Triggers for Violence  Battered women view as to what triggers violent incidents o Not obeying or arguing with the man o Not having food ready on time o Not caring adequately for the children or home o Questioning the man about money or girlfriends o Going somewhere without the man’s permission o The man suspecting the woman of infidelity o Refusing the man sex  WHO study – asked women under which circumstances a man would be justified in beating his wife o Not completing housework o Refusing to have sex o Disobeying her husband o Being unfaithful (most justified reason)  Most acceptable reason to refuse sex was illness and the least being did not want to have sex  Ethiopia and Tanzania – 20% of women felt they did not have the right to refuse sex under any conditions  Simon et al. (U.S) found that 98% of men did not think it was okay to hit their wife to keep them in line o More accepting of women hitting men  Dutton and Browning found: o That intimately violent men were more likely to express anger during the criticism scenario o Non-violent men were more likely to express sadness Theories of Intimate Violence  Two theories regarding intimate violence: o Patriarchal theory PSYC39: Psychology and Law  Assumes a long-standing set of cultural beliefs and values that support the idea that the male dominance of women contributes to the domestic assault of women by men  Hard to show a causal link between patriarchal attitudes and intimate violence  Yllo and Straus showed that degree of patriarchal attitude was positively correlated with rate of intimate violence  Criticized because it provides an incomplete explanation of intimate violence and cannot predict which individuals will engage in it  Dutton argues that community and individual characteristics is necessary to account for intimate violence o Social Learning theory (by Bandura, extended by Dutton for intimate violence)  Has 3 major elements related to aggression:  Origins  Instigators  Regulators – assumption that behaviour is regulated by the outcomes it generates o Includes external punishment and self-punishment  External punishments are exogenous forms of punishment (when a person is arrested for engaging in violence)  Self-punishment is an internal reaction to the consequences of one’s behaviour that is akin to “having a conscience” – feeling remorse for engaging in violent behaviour  Key feature of social learning theory is how individuals acquire new behaviours  Prominent mechanism for learning new behaviours is observational learning – individual models a behaviour that they observe  Observational learning could occur in 3 contexts: family of origin, the subculture in which a person lives, and the media  Men who engage in intimate violence has witnessed parental violence  Bandura argues that for a behaviour to be acquired, it must have a functional value for the observer  Acquired behaviours manifest if an appropriate event in the environment (instigator) acts as a stimulus o Dutton – 3 categories of instigators in intimate violence:  Aversive instigators – stimuli that the individual attempts to avoid  Produce emotional arousal, and how a person labels that emotional arousal will affect how they react  Male batterers have a predisposition to interpret a wide variety of emotional states as anger o This tendency is called “emotional funnel system”  Incentive instigators – stimuli that are perceived as rewards for engaging in aggression PSYC39: Psychology and Law  Delusional instigators – associated with bizarre belief systems, such as delusional jealousy, in which individual erroneously believes their partner to be unfaithful, potentially resulting in aggression o According to social learning theory, intimate violence should be reduced if the consequences for violence are exceeded by incentives for engaging in non-violent behaviour and if alternatives are provided to attenuate the effect of any instigators Male Victims of Intimate Violence  Women engage in more minor violence than men  Strauss reported that slightly higher percentage of women engage in minor violence (slapping, throwing something that could hurt) o Equal rates of serious violence among men and women  Male are more likely to be charged (91%) than females (60%)  When no injury occurred, female was charged in 13% of cases while 52% for males  Charges against women are more likely to be dropped and less likely to be found guilty  Major factors for why such a low percentage of women are found guilty was that the male victim was not willing to testify  Even in psychologists there is this bias – same behaviour is rated more abusive and severe when it was carried out by a male than carried out by a female Typologies of Male Batterers  Typology receiving most attention developed by Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart – identified three types of male batterers based on the severity and frequency of violence, generality of violence and psychopathological features o Family-only batterer type characteristics:  Engages in the lowest levels of intimate violence  Infrequently violent outside the home and rarely engages in other criminal acts  Does not show much psychopathology  Few risk factors  Aggression is triggered by stress o Generally violent/antisocial batterer:  Moderate to high levels of intimate violence  Usually focuses violence on female partners  Antisocial and psychopathic personality features  Substance abuse problems  Problems with impulsivity and many violence-supportive beliefs  Attachment style is dismissive o Dysphoric-borderline batterer:  Moderate to severe levels of intimate violence  Focuses violence on female partners  High rates of mood disorders  Borderline personality features such as instability, jealousy and fear of rejection  Experienced childhood abuse  Attachment style is preoccupied PSYC39: Psychology and Law  Dixon and Browne reported that offenders were 50% family-only type, 30% generally violent/antisocial, and 20% dysphoric-borderline type  Critique of the male batterer literature, methodological deficits of the existing research, including a lack of control groups, inconsistent terminology, and poor measurement of constructs Victims’ Response to Abuse  Factors that keep an abused women in a relationship: o Fear of retribution o Lack of economic support o Concern for the children o Emotional dependence o Lack of support from friends and family o Hope that the man will change o Fear of being socially ostracized (developing countries)  Significant portion of intimate partner homicides occur when the woman makes the decision to leave her abusive mate o 16% of female homicides occur when the woman was separated from her partner  Top 5 resources used were emotional support from friends and family, professional counselling medication for emotional problems, welfare, and support group or self-help o Welfare was rated as one of the top 5 in terms of helpfulness: (1) subsidized day care,
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