By Danielle,

Attachment and Violence

11/06/2012 DK 2 Comments

In 2008, Doumas et al. carried out a psychological study titled 'Adult Attachment as a Rick Factor for Intimate Partner Violence: The "Mispairing" of Partners' Attachment Styles' to examine the role of attachment in violence between couples. The study was carried out by using the Relationship Questionnaire (Bartholomew & Horowitz, 1991) to examine the role of attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance. Physical violence in interpersonal relationships (70 heterosexual couples) was assessed using the Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus, 1979).

What I found particularly interesting with this research was not so much the actual results or the conclusion, but the data collected from the couples regarding physical violence (individually reported):

  • 25% of men reported perpetuating violence
  • 30% of women reported being the recipient of violence
  • 36% of women reported perpetuating violence
  • 24% of men reported being the recipient of violence
Notice the differences in the numbers?

It seems that either:
  1. the men under-reported perpetuating and being the recipient of violence; or
  2. the women over-reported perpetuating and being the recipient of violence.
My assumptions for such result are that a) men and women have different perceptions of violence, b) men refuse to admit that they are or have been abusive or abused (delusional, self-justification, ...), c) women victimise themselves more (although I see no reason why) and feel greater guilt for perpetuating violence.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

P.S. If you are interested in the results of this research by Doumas et al, click here to read the whole report.

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2 comments:

  1. I think in our society men are taught to be embarrassed to admit that they have been (physically) dominated or even just hurt by women (I assume this is what you meant by "men refuse to admit that they ... have been abused"). So that could be part of the reason why the percentage of men being the recipient of violence is lower than the percentage of women who reported perpetuating violence.

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  2. Yes, that's what I meant. But now that I think of it, I think 'abuse' might have been the wrong word to use for this particular study, since it was about violence not abuse.

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