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Social Learning Theory and Intimate Violence Among Men Participating in a Family Violence Intervention Program

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 32 Issue: 1 Dated: 2009 Pages: 93-124
Jennifer Wareham; Denise Paquette Boots; Jorge M. Chavez
Date Published
32 pages
This study investigated social learning theory (SLT) mechanisms that influence intimate partner violence (IPV).
Findings show that none of the measures for definitions attained statistical significance with regard to either verbal or physical IPV. These results were unexpected as social learning definitions have traditionally been one of the more robust elements of the theory. Regarding differential associations, results found support for the influence of primary and tertiary association on IPV; the more men observed their close friends and family committing acts of domestic violence, the more likely they were to perform either verbal or physical acts of IPV. Moreover, in the case of verbal violence, men who reported observing higher amounts of media (tertiary frequency) containing intimate violence were also more likely to verbally abuse and threaten their partners. Further, the greater the interference of batterers' activities, the more likely these men were to report committing verbal and threatening IPV and physical IPV; and men who were influenced by forms of visual media were less likely to commit verbal and threatening acts of IPV. This runs counterintuitive to the assertions of social learning and other literature that suggest that media positively influences aggressive and violent behavior through processes similar to those of differential association with significant others. Data were collected from 204 male domestic batterers attending a court-mandated family violence program. Tables, notes, references, and appendixes