Abstract: Social Comorbidities of Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

Social Comorbidities of Intimate Partner Violence Perpetration

Thursday, January 13, 2022
Liberty Ballroom K, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Sejung Yang, MSW, Ph.D. Candidate, New York University, New York, NY
Briana Barocas, PhD, Research Associate Professor, New York University, New York, NY
Yangjin Park, MSW, Doctoral Candidate, New York University, New York, NY
Background and purpose: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant public health concern and social problem affecting individuals, families, and communities. The syndemic framework, which investigates the relationship among multiple health, social, and behavior conditions, has been suggested to be a beneficial theoretical basis for IPV research. The syndemic framework, without including a biological outcome, was first applied to women experiencing IPV victimization in Brazil and the researchers proposed the term “social comorbidities” indicating the social and/or behavioral conditions which are frequently linked with IPV. To add to the literature, it is critical to explore what types of social conditions co-occur and how they may affect violent behaviors among IPV offenders. Thus, using qualitative approach, this study explores co-occurring social conditions linked with violence among IPV offenders in the US guided by the syndemic framework.

Methods: The study utilized data drawn from a randomized control trial (RCT) on treatment approaches for IPV offenders convicted of a misdemeanor DV crime (comparing a standard batterer intervention program (BIP) to a hybrid BIP plus a restorative justice-informed approach called Circles of Peace and a qualitative study to compliment the RCT. The RCT included both male and female offenders (n=274). For this study, in total, 61 offender interviews, 10 victim interviews, 58 observation notes, 33 video recordings, and 132 treatment session notes were coded and analyzed. All data were analyzed using Atlas.ti version 8. A thematic analysis was used to systematically identify patterns of semantic themes and offer meaningful insight (Braun & Clarke, 2012).

Findings: Four major themes emerged from the analysis: 1) “raised with being spanked”: child abuse victimization [“A lot of that shit is parenting too because they're taught that stuff from their parents who were abusive and so they think it’s okay”]. 2) “the prime trigger”: alcohol and substance use/abuse [“it was drugs because he’d disappear and he’d always wanted to be out partying”]. 3) “It was all financial.”: financial difficulties [The ship started sinking and so I think that’s like when a lot of stress and the aggression came out”]. 4) “he’s been through a lot of shit.”: multiple adverse experiences [“Going through different foster cares and then he was adopted and then being with the friends being involved with gang activity. He went to prison”].

Conclusions and Implications: Overall, the findings highlight the co-occurring social/behavioral conditions associated with IPV, such as childhood exposure to family violence, alcohol and substance use/abuse, financial difficulties, and cumulative adverse experiences and trauma. These findings are in line with the current literature suggesting a further investigation to incorporate trauma-informed care principles and trauma interventions into programming for IPV offenders. Additionally, these narratives offer insights to policymakers and researchers to develop preventive measures and interventions that target syndemics. An integrative intervention addressing multiple comorbidities can be effective. Further research is necessary to investigate the ways in which these social conditions may mutually interact and exacerbate one other.