Date of Award

8-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminology

First Advisor

Rosemary Gido Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Alida Merlo Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Erika Frenzel Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Maureen McHugh Ph.D.

Abstract

The current study sought to examine the theoretical field of intimate partner and domestic violence research. The research focused on integrated social learning, power-control, and fundamental components of intergenerational transmission and male-support theories. The use of the Conflict Tactic Scale (CTS 2), Seller’s (2003) social learning subscale, and a combination of measures of power-control theory were used to determine the relative strength of learning, power, and male social networks in relation to perpetrating and becoming the victim of physical and psychological abuse in intimate relationships. Qualitative data were utilized with 361 college-aged students from a mid-sized north eastern university. The data were collected in a classroom environment. The dependent variable data were dichotomized due to few acts of “repeated” perpetration of violence. The results indicated differential association continues to be the strongest measure of future acts of violence perpetration and victimization in intimate partner relationships. However, minimal support was found for three of the four remaining measures of social learning theory. Additionally, very little support was found for power-control and male-support theories with intimate partner violence. A significant result for gender, in the current research, indicated women are more likely to perpetrate both physical and psychological violence at rates higher than their male counterparts. More surprisingly, both men and women who self-reported being hit, punched, or slapped by a partner, failed to recognize these acts as physical violence. The current findings are supportive of social learning theory and further the debate between usage of the CTS (2) and gender with intimate partner violence. The need for further research, especially with gender, power-control theory, a detailed definition of what constitutes violence, and additional theories such as neutralization, should be addressed.

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