PSYC 353 Lecture 7: Chapter 3: Challenges of Measuring Violence and Abuse

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31 Jan 2018
Chapter 3: Challenges of Measuring Violence
Class Notes
IPV Measurement Goals:
1. Document the frequency of various forms of violence
2. Draw more societal attention to IPV
3. Identify causal factors
4. Identify risk factors
5. Identify prevention factors
6. Enhance treatment interventions
Major Challenges to IPV Measurement:
-Our assessments are occurring after the violent act has happened
-Experimental designs that lead to causal factors are not possible given the subject matter
-Goal = help those reading IPV research utilize a more sophisticated filter by explaining certain
false assumptions of IPV measurement
Assumption 1: most people agree on the definition of violence and abuse
-Violence is used to describe physical or sexual acts while abuse is used for non-physical actions
-The reality is that most people agree about severe forms of violence but less severe forms of
violence can be mislabeled as abuse
-The gender of the violent individual can also influence the use of the term violence vs. abuse
-Male perpetrator more likely to label behavior as violent
-Female perpetrator more likely to label behavior as abuse
-No universally accepted definition still!
Measuring Abuse:
-When measuring abuse, one must consider the following:
-Do the items truly tap the concept of abuse
-Did the behaviors occur once or repeatedly
-Is it legitimate to establish a threshold score that determines if the individual meets the
threshold score for an abuser/abused
-Do we know if the person completing the assessment interpreted the questions
*bottom line professionals do not operate from a universally agreed upon definition of
abuse/violence? So when reviewing research, the reader must pay attention to how it was defined
(in methodology section)
Assumption 2: we can easily document the existence of abuse and violence
-Context matters:
-Was the behavior meant to be harmful?
-Did the behavior occur as an attempt at self-defense?
-Outcome matters:
-Checklists that do not measure sexual violence will result in error
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