Friday, 14 January 2005 - 12:00 PM
This presentation is part of: Poster Session I
Intimate Partner Violence and Relationships: Does "Living in Sin" Entail a Different Experience?Lisa Shannon, MSW, Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, TK Logan, Ph.D., Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, and Jennifer Cole, MSW, Center on Drug and Alcohol Research.
The purpose of the current study is to examine intimate partner violence within the context of different intimate relationships. Previous research has shown that rates of intimate partner violence differs between marital and cohabitating relationships (Brownridge & Halli, 2000; DeKeseredy et al., 2003; Logan et al., 2004; Stets & Straus, 1989). Research has found higher rates of intimate partner violence (Brownridge & Halli, 2000), as well as increased severity of violence (Stets & Straus, 1989) in cohabitating couples. The current study seeks to fill in gaps in the literature surrounding intimate partner violence in married and cohabitating relationships. Few studies have looked at separate relationship groups and violence; those that have possess limited generalizability due to small sample sizes. This is a critical area of focus for current research, as cohabitating relationships are becoming increasingly common.
Data was gathered from rural and urban women who were recruited from court after receiving a protective order against a male partner. Results from face-to-face interviews were computed from 728 participants who reported being married or cohabitating (n=405 married, n=323 cohabitating). Measures of intimate partner violence were taken from the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2) (Straus et al., 1996) and Tolman’s Psychological Maltreatment of Women Inventory (Tolman, 1999).
ANCOVA statistics controlling for geographic area were used to analyze CTS2 & Tolman measures divided into five groups: 1.) psychological abuse, 2) moderate physical abuse, 3.) severe physical abuse, 4.) sexual violence and 5.) injuries from violence. Specific violence tactics were also analyzed. Overall, results from the ANCOVA showed no significant differences on any global group of violence between married and cohabitating women. However, married women were more likely to report their partner treated them as inferior (F (1, 723) = 7.51, p<.01), denied them access to money (F (1, 723) = 6.76, p<.01), kept them from doing things to help self (F (1, 723) = 6.76, p<.01), blamed them for his problems (F (1, 723) = 22.16, p<.001) and called them fat or ugly (F (1, 723) = 10.462, p<.01).
The results from this study are inconsistent with previous research. Past research shows that violence experienced in cohabitating couples is more frequent and severe. However, the results from this study provide preliminary evidence that married and cohabitating women experience global types of violence at similar rates. Furthermore, results indicated the converse of previous research. Married women were more likely to experience certain specific violence tactics.
Research in this area serves to fill gaps in an under-researched area surrounding intimate partner violence. Understanding the dynamics of violence and types of violence tactics used by partners in different intimate relationships has important implications for practitioners working with these populations. Furthermore, this research could facilitate policy development with further inclusion of cohabitating women under the protection of the law. Currently, it is unclear as to how cohabitation is defined by the law and whether this is applied consistently (Logan et al., 2004). This research supplies critical information on a developing area of research and practice.
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