Discuss Similarities and Differences in Partner Violence by Males and Females. Consider Prevalence, Reasons, Type, Consequences and Developmental Course.

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Discuss similarities and differences in partner violence by males and females. Consider prevalence, reasons, type, consequences and developmental course.

During adolescent years romantic relationships begin to become important and take up a significant portion of time (Richards, Crowe, Larson & Swarr, 1998). These early experiences of romantic relationships can serve many positive functions such as larger peer networks, more opposite-sex friends, and more non-school friends (Connolly & Johnson, 1996). The early romantic experiences are also believed to play a pivotal role in both identity and intimacy development and potentially shape the course of subsequent romantic relationships (Erikson, 1968). However, a surprising proportion of adolescent romantic relationships are marked by some degree of relationship violence of which the consequences can be devastating (Jouriles, Wolfe, Garrido & McCarthy, 2006). Three types of dating violence have been identified in relation to both adult and adolescent relationship violence; physical, psychological and sexual. Physical violence in adolescent relationships is defined similarly to adult relationships. Measured by items on Straus’s (1979) Conflict Tactics Scale, it may be defined as throwing something at a partner, physically restraining a partner, pushing, shoving or grabbing a partner, slapping, hitting, biting, kicking, choking a partner, beating up a partner or threatening them with a weapon such as a gun or knife. Psychological violence has also been defined by Straus’s (1979) Conflict Tactics Scale and includes insulting or swearing at a partner, sulking or refusing to talk, stomping out of the room or house, crying, doing or saying something out of spite, threatening to throw or hit something and actually throwing, kicking or hitting something. Additionally, more adolescent focused measures have subsequently identified more unique behaviours specific to this age group which may also be defined as psychological violence. O’Leary and Slep (2003) observed efforts directed at damaging the relationship between the partner and his or her peers by spreading rumours for example, control tactics such as monitoring a partner’s time and whereabouts, and jealous tactics such as suspicion of opposite sex friends or accusing their partner of cheating. Sexual violence is defined as forced or coerced sexual activity such as kissing, petting and intercourse. As with physical and psychological violence, the occurrence of one or more of these acts over a specified period of time is used to indicate sexual violence (Jouriles et al., 2006). According to national survey data collected in the United States, 9.5% of students have been hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend during a 12-month period (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 2002). However, other estimates of the prevalence of physical dating violence among adolescents are much higher, ranging from about 20% to over 50% (Cascardi, Avery-Leaf, O’Leary & Slep, 1999). Estimates for psychological violence suggest a much higher prevalence rate than for physical violence and Wolfe et al. (2001) found that in a large sample of high school students prevalence rates for specific self-reported acts of psychological violence ranged from 25.6% (ridiculing or making fun of) to 54% (speaking to partner in hostile/ mean tone of voice). Prevalence rates for specific self-reported acts of physical violence however only ranged from 7% (slapping or pulling hair) to 11% (kicking hitting or punching). Additionally, Wolfe et al’s (2001) research reported low (2.2- 2.5%) prevalence rates for rather serious sexual violence (forced or coerced sexual activity) but comparatively higher (15.2- 20.6%) prevalence rates for acts such as unwanted kissing or petting. Although it may typically be assumed that males are the more violent gender and thus more common perpetrators of relationship violence, many recent...
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