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Introduction and Theories of family violence

by: Lindsay Bellinger

Introduction and Theories of family violence PSYX 348

Marketplace > University of Montana > Psychology (PSYC) > PSYX 348 > Introduction and Theories of family violence
Lindsay Bellinger

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About this Document

Chapter one of this course covers the key terms involved and the basic concepts behind family violence
Psychology of Family Violence
Laura Kirsch
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lindsay Bellinger on Monday October 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYX 348 at University of Montana taught by Laura Kirsch in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see Psychology of Family Violence in Psychology (PSYC) at University of Montana.


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Date Created: 10/10/16
Family Violence Review from last week: collecting data on family violence - Self-report - UCR (uniform crime report) - Official statistics - Annual child maltreatment report Theory No one theory can fully explain what causes family violence - Family violence is made up of a variety of difference acts – theories that are able to explain them all will be too broad and may not be credible - Macro-theories: identify the broad factors that make families prone to violence Micro-theories: help explain violence on an individual level Macro-theories - Sociological in nature - Incorporate a variety of factors o Cultural factors: focus on socialization, or how children learn from their social environment (Patriarchy and gender roles, acceptance of violence) E.g. Honor killings is seen as appropriate, or punishing children with violence is seen as acceptable in some cultures o Socio-cultural variables: link violence to socially-defined classifications (minority status, gender, low income = stress, frustration and increased risk for aggression) o Structural variables: age, stress, proximity o Situational factors: presence of weapons in the home o Deterrence theory: criminological theory, stating that behavioral are common if they do not incur cost Micro-theories - Psychological in nature - Interpersonal and intrapersonal characteristics (google difference) o Learning theories: experiences in childhood shape adult behavior (based on conditioning and learning principles)  Classical conditioning  Operant conditioning  Social learning theory Classical conditioning – Pavlov’s dogs - We learn by associating stimuli that occur together (e.g. dogs + food + whistle = saliva) - Explains emotional responses: o Fear conditioning (learn to be fearful of abusive parent) o Generalization (Generalize fear to other people with similar characterizes of abusive parent = e.g. fearful of all men, not just father) o Prolonged traumatic reactions o Deviant sexual interests Operant conditioning – Skinner - The law of effect: the consequences of a behavior will either increase or decrease the likelihood that it will occur again o Reinforcement: increases the likelihood of a behavior via a desirable outcome (desirable behavior = behavior will be reinforced)  Positive reinforcement: a positive reward (giving money or an ice-cream)  Negative reinforcement: removing something good (you don’t have to do your homework)  ** both are good, but one is directly rewarding with a gift while the other is removing something that wasn’t wanted o Punishment: decreases the likelihood of a behavior via an undesirable outcome  Can be positive or negative (add something bad or take away something good) – E.g. Extra homework or take away TV  Reinforce for violence: the person being violent gains a feeling of empowerment and control meaning they are receiving positive reinforcement for their bad behavior = repeated behavior Abusive behavior is generally reinforced and not punished Social Learning Theory – Bandura Bobo Doll Experiment - Observational learning: behavior is shape by watching an imitating others, you don’t have to personally experience the behavior in order for you to copy it or avoid it o E.g. Bobo doll experiment – children watched adults being aggressive towards the doll, the children the imitated that behavior and in some cases showed more aggressive behavior than the observed adults - Data shows that children imitate: o Violent family behaviors o Conflict resolution styles o Drug/alcohol use patterns Learning theories and parenting behaviors: - Parental abuse/hostility/neglect leads to: o Failure to learn right from wrong o Learning that aggressive behavior pays off o Impaired social development  ‘Nobody wants to play with the aggressive children’ – social exclusion which leads to deviant peer groups forming  Poor relationships and ineffective social problem solving o Failure to develop social bonds  Lack of behavioral constraints (bullying other children)  Emotional underdevelopment and low self-esteem (bullying to regain control and self-esteem) Supported by abundant research: - Criminals report high rates of childhood abuse and neglect - Follow-up studies of abused children show increased rates of antisocial behavior - Abused boys have more positive towards attitudes towards violence - Abused children respond to distress with aggression - Neglected children are also at increased risk of antisocial behavior (never learnt other ways of dealing with problems) - Childhood abuse is associated with violence later in life: o Dating violence o Marital violence o Engaging in child abuse o Increased risk of adult victimization Individual differences: Characteristics unique to an individual that may predispose a person to violence - Psychopathology o schizophrenia, pedophilia, Substance abuse, Maternal depression - Personality traits o Anti-social personality disorder, Impulsivity, Narcissism (feeling you are superior to others), Hostility, Jealousy, Neuroticism, Low self-esteem - Biological predispositions o MAOA gene linked to aggression o Over or under active limbic system (hippocampus, hypothalamus, amygdala) causes people to be over-emotional or under-emotional o Biochemistry: testosterone, cortisol, serotonin  Serotonin regulates mood, sleep, appetite = low serotonin -> aggression Interpersonal theories: - Interactional patterns that may foster conflict and violence - System theory: o Violence is the product of interactions between relationship partners  Characterized by high rates of discord, poor communication and attachment disruptions Multidimensional theories: - Combine different theoretical perspectives - Ecological theories of abuse: multiple factors contribute o Primary influences are: individual, family, community and culture Family Violence Key Terms: - Child: person below the age of 18 who is dependent on another person - Intimate partner: boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife relationship that involves romance and sex - Family: a group of people who are related by law or blood, or a group of people wjo reside/live together - Elder: someone older than you (above the age of 60 in Montana) What is violence? “an act carried out with the intention of, or an act perceived as having the intention of physically harming another person” What is family violence? “a family members act of omission or commission resulting in physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect or other forms of maltreatment that hamper an individual’s healthy development” What is intimate partner violence? “consists of physical violence, sexual violence and threats of physical or sexual violence between intimate partners” How common is family violence? It is hard to know because… - Underreported - Privacy concerns - Children are too young to report - Lack of response by police means people don’t bother reporting Women and children are more likely to be abused at home by someone they know Men are more likely to be abused outside of the home by someone they don’t know How common is child abuse? According to the US DHHS in 2014: - 3.6 million state and local referrals for abuse and neglect, including 6.6 million children - 702,000 substantiated cases (evidence was found) o 9.4 per 1000 children annually - 242,000 children placed in foster care - 1,580 child fatalities resulting from abuse or neglect o 71% under the age of 3 Why are families violent? - Structural factors: time spent together, power differentials, ability to fight back - Idealization of the family: common beliefs about parental rights, control and autonomy - Family norms: physical punishment - Social tolerance: depiction of women in the media History of intimate partner violence (IPV) - Historically, women were the property of their husbands o Mid 1800’s: women’s rights movements o 1920: women given the right to vote o WWII: women enter the workplace o 1960’s: feminist movement and birth control o 1971: first women’s shelter was built o 1980’s: dating violence, date rape and stalking became recognized o 1995: laws against marital rape Prevention = stopping something before it happens Intervention = stopping something before it happens “just world bias” – bad things happen to bad people, good things happen to good people (make us feel safer)


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