Motivation and emotion/Book/2017/Intimate partner violence motivation

From Wikiversity
Jump to: navigation, search
Intimate partner violence motivation:
What motivates IPV and what can be done about it?
Parodyfilm.svg[Replace this text with the URL Go to a 3 min. audiovisual overview of this chapter.]


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), also known by its more common term domestic violence, is the pattern of abusive behaviour from one person to another who are in an intimate relationship, and the abusive behaviour is usually used to gain power, control and authority over the other person (Walker, 1999). IPV can also occur in a variety of ways such as physical, sexual, emotional, economical and/or verbal (Yoshihama, Horrocks, & Kamano, 2009). Much research as gone into identifying motives behind IPV as well as intervention and prevention techniques. Literature has suggested many theoretical constructs for motivations behind IPV such as social learning theory, self-determination theory and cognitive dissonance.

This chapter starts with an investigation of the demographics of IPV. Literature then focuses on the different types of IPV such as physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Following this, in-depth research is conducted into the theoretical concepts behind motivation of IPV. The chapter concludes by looking at integrative models that are currently being used to prevent the occurrence of partner violence.

Key Questions

What is IPV?

What are the most common motivators of physical/sexual violence among men and women?

What are the major theories behind IPV?

How can the motivation theories discussed be applied to the prevention of IVP?

Demographics of IVP[edit]

Many factors have been considered when discussing partner violence such as same-sex relationships, pregnancy, gender and age. Some of these have been discussed below in greater detail.

Figure1. A woman showing violent actions towards a man.


Both men and women are affected and become victims of domestic violence, though much more research as been conducted on violence against women (Devries et al, 2013). However, its been shown that men and women are both seen to act just as violently as one another in a relationship and reports of domestic violence often show both parties abusing one another (Kumar, 2012).


Cross-cultural research has shown that one third of women will most likely experience some form of domestic violence, whether it be in the form of physical, sexual or emotional abuse (Devries et al, 2013). As a result of this, it is reported that 1 in 3 homicides of women are likely to be committed by their intimate partners (Mahenge, Stöckl, Abubakari, Mbwambo, & Jahn, 2016). Furthermore, women that are pregnant have a high risk of falling victim to IPV. IPV rates were shown to be higher during pregnancy, at a percentage of 18.6% than during one to nine months postpartum where frequency was at 8% (Mahenge et al, 2016). It has been implied that it is the mixture of the gender inequalities that exist in today society such as women's lack of social power and a mans need for dominance when they realise women have the ability to do something that men cannot such as carry a child (Benagiano, Carrara & Filippi, 2010).


Unfortunately, many cases of domestic violence experienced by men do not get reported as men feel they are alone in experiencing what they are going through (Peate, 2017). Many men feel ashamed and embarrassed by the fact that their female parter is abusing them so they remain quiet to avoid being ridiculed (Kumar, 2012). Additionally, 59% of men who have fallen victim to IVP would not accept or believe that what they have experienced is domestic violence (Peate, 2017). Interestingly, recent examination of male and female victims of IPV in the US has shown that there were more male (53%) victims of IVP than female (47%) in 2010 (Holf, 2012). This has further implications for further research into raising awareness for male IPV victims.


Much of the research between age and IPV has focused on adolescents and younger adults, specifically female adults (Peterman, Bleck & Palermo, 2015) This is primarily due to the fact that research has found this age group to be at most risk of experiencing some form of abuse, showing a gradual decrease in IPV as age increased (Romans, Forte, Cohen, Mont & Hyman, 2007) Stockl, March, Pallitto and Garcia-Moreno (2014) found that across cultures women aged 15 to 24 reported higher levels of IPV ranging from 7% in areas such as urban Serbia to 57% in rural Ethiopia. This was compared to women aged 25-34 and 35-49 years. Stockl et al (2014) further suggested that witnessing one's mother being abused by her partner was greatly associated with IPV as well as sexual/physical abuse during childhood. Similarly, research that focused on young male adults also showed a decrease in IPV as age increased dropping from 18.6% in adolescence to 0.2% in the final year of college (White & Smith, 2009).

Types of IPV[edit]

Figure 2. Representation of physical intimate partner violence.

Types of partner violence can range from verbal abuse to physical violence. Other forms include, sexual, economical and psychological abuse. Economic abuse is the control and maintenance of economic resources that one partner has over the other inhibiting self-sufficiency and threatening economic security (Adam, Sulliven, Bybee & Greeson, 2008). Verbal abuse usually refers to the acts of yelling, cursing, criticising and insulting (Winstok, 2006; Debono, Xuereb, Scerri & Camilleri, 2016). Similarly, past literature has defined psychological abuse (also known as emotional abuse) as being humiliated in front of others, insulted and made feel bad, intimidated or threatened with harm (Fanslow & Robinson, 2011). All these types of violence usually intend to degrade and evoke fear in the other partner, as well as to exert control and dominance (Debono et al., 2016). A further in-depth investigation is presented on physical and sexual partner violence.


Physical abuse has been defined with minor acts such as pushing, grabbing and hitting, to more severe acts such as use of a knife or gun on a partner, choking, burning and kicking (Leisring, 2012). Research has shown that out of 1401 women, 772 experienced some sort of IPV and 77.3% of them experienced physical or sexual violence compared to 22.7% who experienced non-physical abuse (Cocker, Smith, McKeown & King, 2000). Similarly, the most common form of aggressive behaviour towards men from women was in the form of physical violence such as scratching, punching and hitting with blunt objects (Carmo, Grams & Magalhaes, (2011). Thus, the question remains as to what motivates these aggressive behaviours in men and women. Langhinrichsen-Rohling, McCullars and Misra (2012) identified 7 categories of motivators from an in-depth analysis of a broad range of literature. These categories were power/control, self-defence, expression of negative emotion, communication difficulties, retaliation, jealousy and others. Furthermore, Langhinrichsen-Rohling et al (2012) found that women were seen to use physical violence more when the motive was self-defence while men were seen to use it more for power and control. It was also shown that for both men and women, violence was used as a way of retaliation after being hurt emotionally as well as out of stress, anger and jealousy.


  • Definition
  • Rape, sexual assault
  • Statistics
  • Motivational reasons i.e. control
Case Studies

Theoretical concepts behind IPV motivations[edit]

Social Learning theory[edit]

  • Being abused as a child leading to violent behaviour in intimate relationships
  • Social learning theory / modelling behaviour
  • Cochran, Sellers, Wiesbrock, & Palacios, (2011)

Self Determination theory[edit]

Cognitive dissonance[edit]

What can be done about intimate partner violence?[edit]


- Discuss prevention techniques related to the motivations discussed above

Coping strategies[edit]

- How do victims over come and cope with the experienced trauma?

Is there any current integrative model being used for IPV? what is the most useful theoretical perspective?


Summarise the definition of what IPV is and discuss take home message of book chapter focusing on the major motivational theories behind IPV.

See also[edit]


Adams, A. E., Sullivan, C. M., Bybee, D., & Greeson, M. R. (2008). Development of the scale of economic abuse. Violence Against Women, 14(5), 563-588. doi:10.1177/1077801208315529

Benagiano, G., Carrara, S., & Filippi, V. (2010). Social and ethical determinants of human sexuality: 2. gender-based violence. The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, 15(4), 220-231. doi:10.3109/13625187.2010.490888

Carmo, R., Grams, A., & Magalhães, T. (2011). Men as victims of intimate partner violence. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 18(8), 355-359. doi:10.1016/j.jflm.2011.07.006

Coker, A., Smith, P., McKeown, R., & King, M. (2000). Frequency and correlates of intimate partner violence by type: Physical, sexual, and psychological battering. American Journal of Public Health, 90(4), 553-559. doi:10.2105/AJPH.90.4.553

Cochran, J., Sellers, C., Wiesbrock, V., & Palacios, W. (2011). Repetitive intimate partner victimization: an exploratory application of social learning theory. Deviant Behavior, 32(9), 790-817. doi:10.1080/01639625.2010.538342

Debono, C., Borg Xuereb, R., Scerri, J., & Camilleri, L. (2017). Intimate partner violence: Psychological and verbal abuse during pregnancy. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26(15-16), 2426-2438. doi:10.1111/jocn.13564

Devries, K. M., Mak, J. Y. T., García-Moreno, C., Petzold, M., Child, J. C., Falder, G., . . . Watts, C. H. (2013). The global prevalence of intimate partner violence against women. Science, 340(6140), 1527-1528. doi:10.1126/science.1240937

Hoff, B. H. (2012). US national survey: More men than women victims of intimate partner violence. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 4(3), 155-163. doi:10.1108/17596591211244166

Kumar, A. (2012). Domestic violence against men in india: A perspective. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 22(3), 290-296. doi:10.1080/10911359.2012.655988

Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., McCullars, A., & Misra, T. (2012). Motivations for men and women's intimate partner violence perpetration: a comprehensive review. Partner Abuse, 3(4), 429-468. doi:10.1891/1946-6560.3.4.429

Mahenge, B., Stöckl, H., Abubakari, A., Mbwambo, J., & Jahn, A. (2016). Physical, sexual, emotional and economic intimate partner violence and controlling behaviors during pregnancy and postpartum among women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. PLOS ONE, 11(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164376

Peate, I. (2017). Domestic violence against men. British Journal of Nursing, 26(6), 309

Romans, S., Forte, T., Cohen, M. M., Du Mont, J., & Hyman, I. (2007). Who is most at risk for intimate partner violence?: A canadian population-based study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(12), 1495-1514. doi:10.1177/0886260507306566

Stockl, H., March, L., Pallitto, C., Garcia-Moreno, C., WHO Multicountry Study Team, & WHO Multi-country Study Team. (2014). Intimate partner violence among adolescents and young women: Prevalence and associated factors in nine countries: A cross-sectional study. Bmc Public Health, 14(1), 751. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-751

Peterman, A., Bleck, J., & Palermo, T. (2015). Age and intimate partner violence: An analysis of global trends among women experiencing victimization in 30 developing countries. Journal of Adolescent Health, 57(6), 624-630. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.08.008

Walker, L. E. (1999). Psychology and domestic violence around the world. American Psychologist, 54(1), 21-29. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.54.1.21

White, J. W., & Smith, P. H. (2009). Covariation in the use of physical and sexual intimate partner aggression among adolescent and college-age men: A longitudinal analysis. Violence Against Women, 15(1), 24-43. doi:10.1177/1077801208328345

Winstok, Z. (2006). The why and what of intimate conflict: Effect of the partners’ divergent perceptions on verbal aggression. Journal of Family Violence, 21(7), 461-468. doi:10.1007/s10896-006-9043-1

Yoshihama, M., Horrocks, J., & Kamano, S. (2009). The role of emotional abuse in intimate partner violence and health among women in yokohama, japan. American Journal of Public Health, 99(4), 647-653. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2007.118976

External links[edit]