Technological intimate partner violence: victim impacts and technological perpetration factors




Duerksen, Kari

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In emerging adulthood, the developmental period between ages 18 and 25, romantic relationships last longer and become more intimate and serious. This developmental period also marks the peak of intimate partner violence (IPV) rates across the lifespan. Individuals in this age group also rely on technology more heavily than other age groups, and use this technology as another means by which to perpetrate IPV. The current thesis investigated the impacts of victimization by such technological IPV (tIPV), as well as the importance of technology-related factors in the perpetration of tIPV. Two hundred and seventy-eight (204 female, 74 male) participants in an intimate relationship of at least three months completed an online survey. Participants reported on their perpetration of and victimization by in-person and tIPV as well as on a range of victim impacts and technology-related perpetration factors. Experiencing tIPV victimization was related to increased alcohol use for both men and women, and increased fear of partner for women. For depression, perceived stress, relationship satisfaction, quality of life, social support, and post-traumatic stress, tIPV victimization did not predict impacts above in-person victimization. The amount of technology usage as well as the amount of technological disinhibition both uniquely predicted tIPV perpetration, counter to the hypothesis that technological disinhibition would moderate the relationship between technology usage and tIPV perpetration. In-person IPV perpetration also significantly predicted tIPV perpetration, and when these variables were included, technology usage was no longer significant. Upon further investigation, social media use, but not texting, significantly predicted tIPV perpetration. While these results suggest some unique impacts and contributing factors to tIPV, overall these results highlight that tIPV often occurs within a broader pattern of abuse that includes in-person IPV. These results suggest that tIPV, while a new medium of aggression, is not necessarily distinct from in-person IPV. This means that efforts should be made to integrate tIPV into IPV theory and practice, rather than to create a new field of research and practice based solely around tIPV.



intimate partner violence, technology, partner abuse, intimate relationships, emerging adulthood