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Theories On The Causes Of Domestic Violence Sociology Essay

Previously there has been a lot of work done to determine the causes of domestic violence and their relationship with it. This literature review focuses on the theories related to causes of domestic violence and highlights the key findings of these theories. This literature review is a summary of selected sources which directly or indirectly address domestic violence and its causes. Sources range from academic research papers, other literature reviews, scholarly articles and online books.

Work and family have reciprocal relationship with each other and this has been proved by the research and the effects of one are spilled onto other. Occupational spillover effects are best explained by feminist and work-family theories because work and violence are gendered. Research that was done previously has ignored issue of violence when analyzing occupational spillover and has only focused on occupations influencing workers identities health outcomes, renting styles and health outcomes. Relationship is being discovered by researchers between interpersonal conflicts and arguments at work leading to arguments at home. There are few family violence researchers who have focused on occupational characteristics affecting intimate relationships. Occupational violence spillover means that men in physical violent jobs are more likely to cause violence on their partners because they have learnt at work that violence Is a legitimate way to exercise control on their partners. Compensatory masculinity focuses on men’s work-family linkages and according to this, men who are unable to earn satisfactory income level and are dissatisfied in their working environment try to gain satisfaction at home by perpetrating violence at their female partners. It has been found by family violence researchers that men in blue collar, male dominated occupations have higher rates of domestic violence as compared to men having white collar jobs but the issue has not been examined thoroughly. Research has concluded that men in physicaly violent occupation usually bring their work home in the form of violence and their female partners suffers from occupational spillover. Few work-family researchers have focused on the role of occupational stress in causing domestic violence on intimate partner and are unable to explain the root causes of violence.

Research on intimate partner violence has explained the connection between income, education and employment with violence. Marital dependency (Kalmuss & Straus, 1990; Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 1980) and stress frustration theories (Holtzworth-Munroe, Bates, Smutzler, & Sandin, 1997; Riggs, Caulfield, & Street, 2000; Straus, 1990; Straus et al.) view income, education, and employment as indicators of access to economic resources. According to Anderson, women face risk of abuse due to power differences rather than sociodemographic position. Tradtional status of men along with several sociodemographic factors such as income, education, employment, race and social class increases the risk for women to face intimate partner violence. Marital dependency theory suggests that women are financially, educationaly and occupationaly dependent on their male partners which limits their ability to end violent relationships. 1986). Lupri, Grandin, and Brinkerhoff (1994) suggest that because men hold the majority of high paying positions in society, it follows that they also command higher power in have adverse effects on marital relationships. Rogers and Amato (1997) and Rubin (1994) find that husbands with low level of income are likely to feel more insecure and consequently the couple will experience more marital problems. Socioeconomic differences favouring women are often viewed as uncomfortable and problamtaic by male partners.

According to Jasinski (2001), violence is used by men to construct traditional masculinity and when men are unemployed and unable to financially support their family, they use violence as a mean to regain their masculinity. Researchers have analyzed the impact of men’s and women’s financial contributon to household income and have concluded that overall poverty increases the risk of violence rather than income disparity between intimate partners. (Anderson, 1997;

McCloskey). Moreover, employment is also considered as an important factor causing violence and according to Macmillan & Gartner, a woman is more likely to experience violence when she is employed and has a higher job status compared to her husband. Many researchers have also found that women with higher education compared to their partners face greater risk of intimate partner violence than women with lower education (Hornung et al DeKeseredy and Hinch (1991)

Family violence and feminist researchers have focused on the role played by socioeconomic factors in causing partner violence but the literature lacks the exact role played by these factors in causing physical and emotional abuse so there is a contionous need to explore the relationship between income, employment and education with partner violence. Empirical analysis of the different forms of intimate partner violence and physical abuse is required to be done.

According to feminist theories, men perpetuate violence inorder to maintain power and control and family violence researchers have concluded that structural environment plays an important role in causing domestic abuse. It has been found that elements of structural environment such as age, race, cohabition, educational and income resources have a relationship with domestic violence and these same structural elements do not lead to the violence in a similar fashion by men. Previously the role of cultural constructions of gender was ignored by the researchers and in most studies violence perpetrated by men is examined only. Moreover. Gender theorists argue that social constructs create masculinity and femininity and construction of feminine identity is much easier as compared to the construction of masculine identity. (Connell, 1987). Men try to maintain their masculinity by obtaining higher levels of income, more education and greater occupational prestige than women (Gerson, 1993; Segal, 1990). Men with higher educational resources and earning less income are more likely to perpetrate violence on their female partners than with lower educational resoureces and higher income (Fagot, Leinbach, & Hagan, 1986). Men use violence as a mean to maintain and re establish their power and control when they are deprived of material resources iin their lives (Goldschneider & Waite, 1991). The study conducted by Horning Mcullough concluded that partners hold different expectations regarding decision making and housework when they have different educational levels.

The relationship between education and domestic violence should be studied more closely in the research because their relationship has been found inconsistent in the past studies (Lupri et al., 1994). Theories focusing on socioeconomic causes of domestic violence must be integrated with feminist theories to better understand the problem. There is a dire need of future research that should analyze and examine the interrelationship of sociodemographic factors and structures of gender and power. Strong relationship between domestic violence and age,cohabiting status, unemployment and socioeconomic status has been found by sociologists using national survey techniques. A link between stress and domestic assaults has been found by studies (Straus et al., 1980). Gender of victims and perpetrators hold a great importance when examining causes of domestic violence but the literature lacks an analysis of how and why gender matters in spousal violence. Furthermore, past studies of resource theory has limitations. One limitation is that the data is collected from one partner leading to gendered reporting bias. The literature lacks the emipirical and theoretical analysis of how gender matters in the relationship between resources and violence.

Research indicates that domestic violence may arise from feelings of low personal control among men and it negatively influences the personal control of women. According to perpetrator literature, feelings of personal control play a vital role in causing domestic abuse and the characteristics of perpetrator are low self esteem, poor self control and a high need for control. Research has proved that various aspects of social structural enviornment influences the men’s ability to perpetuate violence on women and these aspects are poverty social resources, stress and unemployment. A link has been found between socio structural conditions and domestic violence by the researchers. According to feminist theories, violence is used as an instrumental act by men when they have little control over an element of their environment such as unemployment and fewer resources to maintain or re-establish their sense of control.. According to studies conducted earlier, gender greatly influences personal control and domestic violence. Johnson (1995) suggests that there may be gender differences in motivation to control, physical strength differences that make violence effective, normative acceptability of control, inclination to use violence for control. According to Kirkwood (1993), men uses their personal resources and physical power to exert control on their female partners and if they also have access to more resources, they can use these to exert further control. Research conducted earlier has indicated that relationship between personal control and domestic violence is different for men and women and the experience of abuse is entirely different for men and women.

The literature has focused on men regarding control and domestic violence but it has not empirically tested the relationship between personal control and domestic violence

The literature is quite broad and vague when examining male control and domestic violence and it suggests that men initiate partner violence because they have little control over their partners and circumstances of their lives. More research should be conducted to find out more relationships among personal control and domestic violence and how the association is different for men and women. Moreover, there is a need of finding out possible gender differences using qualitative research.

There are many socioeconomic factors leading to domestic violence but the most important ones are poverty and low income. (Greenfeld et al., 1998; Rennison & Welchans,2000, Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998). According to interpersonal perspectives, the factors contributing to domestic violence are within the relationship conflict and ineffective conflict resolution increases the risk of violence for women. Family members aid in perpetuating violence on women violence (Hamberger & Hastings 1993, Cunningham et al 1998, Healey et al 1998, Eisikovits & Edleson 1989, Jewkes 2002). The most widely accepted theory of violence is that some groups in the society encourages the use of violence on women. According to feminist researchers, there are several control tactics used by men to exert power and control on women.

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