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Domestic Violence by an Intimate Partner


This study was aimed at examining the trends in attitudes about violence between intimate partners. In setting the foundation of the study, the authors hypothesized that if people across the world are affected by the diffusion of global norms, then the number of persons who think that violence between intimate partners is legitimate should decrease. This hypothesis was tested with the aid of data that was nationally representative, about the attitude of women from 26 countries.

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It was discovered that in 23 out of the 26 countries tested, women were more likely to reject violence between intimate partners. This trend of rejection was evident in women with multiple age groups, both those in urban and rural settings. It was also evident among women with varied levels of education and those who had varying access to the media. The changes reported were associated with the spread of global norms. Demographic shifts and the socioeconomic status of the population only accounted for a very small proportion of the observed trend (Pierroti, 2013).

Major Concepts Related to the Sociological Theory Salient in the Article

The World Society Theory

This is one of the major concepts that appear to shape the findings and the manner in which the research was carried out. It was very vital in helping the author rule out the socioeconomic factors as the major player in the observed trends. According to this theory, individuals who are connected closely to an environment that is globally institutionalized will bear the values that are promoted in that particular environment. The theory explains that people residing in urban centers, those who are highly educated, and those who have easy access to media are more likely to reject any form of violence between partners who are intimate (Meyer, 2010). The concepts presented in the world society theory formed the main part of this article.

National policies play a minor role in shaping the social behavior

It was evident that various nations have developed policies and laws to prevent and protect women against violence, even in intimate relationships, but the latter did not affect the behavior largely. The results showed difficulties in implementation of the policies, particularly in a resource limited setup and areas with multiple cultural practices. It is also challenging to implement such policies in areas where the level of education is low and among those who are not exposed to forums where such issues are discussed. In these areas, only the diffusion of global norms appeared to influence the social interactions.

The Strengths of the Article

Timely research work with ideal hypotheses

A major strength that may have resulted in the success of this study was the ideal hypotheses established by the author. All the four hypotheses set were ideal, achievable, and sought to answer the particular question of interest set by the author. Many authors and organizations have reported forms of violence, particularly against women, in intimate relationships. For instance, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the proportion of the violence in the population, citing women as the most affected individuals (CDC, 1996).

According to Cavanaugh, Martins, Petras, and Campbell (2013), such violence has even resulted in mental problems among the affected partners. Barner and Carney (2011) attempted to give a historical review of mechanisms of dealing with this violence. However, all these studies did not address the mechanism that shapes the attitude of women concerning the issue of violence among intimate partners. This gap is what was addressed in the research under review.

Reliable and reproducible findings

The author explained the methodology he used to obtain the data he presented comprehensively. This came after the author had laid a strong foundation of the study through an elaborate literature review. A clear presentation of the methodology used, the mechanisms used in statistical analysis, and the actual presentation of the obtained data in tables and graphs makes it possible for someone to easily reproduce these findings.

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The methods used were controlled well and the resulting conclusion was reliable. The fact that there is violence among intimate partners is a finding that is agreeable, according to other research studies (Mbilinyi et al., 2012). Other studies have also shown that rejection against these forms of violence has been on the rise in the recent past (Romero-Martinez et al., 2013). What makes the findings outstanding is the explanation of the cause of the decline, the diffusion of the global norms, rather than the socioeconomic factors.

Weakness of the Study

Limitation to developing countries

Though the findings are timely and can be used as a means of policy change, their impact is limited to developing countries. A majority of the countries in the study were from Africa, a third world continent. It may be difficult to extrapolate such findings to developed countries, such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, and other developed nations.

The author also failed to provide the rationale for choosing mainly third world countries, as opposed to developed countries. Furthermore, there was a need to have an equal representation from each continent to cater for religious and cultural differences within these continents. Several studies have reported violence between intimate partners in the developed countries, such as the USA (Murrell, Christoff, & Nenning 2007). Consequently, the trend in these nations ought to have been included; otherwise, the findings of this study cannot be accepted as globally representative.

Overemphasis on women

Just like the previous studies by Bassuk, Dawson, and Huntington (2006), Ferguson (2011), and Valentine, Oehme, and Martin (2012), this study also emphasized the notion that women are the ones facing violence in intimate relationships. This stereotyping has made it difficult for men to express themselves and the data normally presented is somewhat an underestimation, as men are normally sidelined.

In establishing the foundation of the study, the author could have presented the known rates of violence between both males and females. In presenting the results, the author could have shown the differences in the trends different for men and women so that the sex dynamics can easily be understood. The assumption that women are the ones abused in such relationships and the conclusion that the trends are the same in both sexes without explaining the differences in the sex dynamics in questionable.


Most people, especially women, are rejecting any form of violence in intimate relationships as a legitimate social norm. Different from other studies, this study showed that socioeconomic factors are not sufficient in explaining the increasing trend in rejection of domestic violence in this study. In fact, these factors only play a minor role. The major factor that has played a vital role in the observed trend towards the rejection of violence among intimate partners is the diffusion of global norms, a factor that ought to be considered keenly by various authorities in coming up with policies. This factor should also be described well, as it is likely to shape other forms of social interactions.


Barner, J. R., & Carney, M. M. (2011). Interventions for intimate partner violence: a historical review. Journal of Family Violence, 26(3), 235–244.

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Bassuk, E., Dawson, R., & Huntington, N. (2006). Intimate partner violence in extremely poor women: longitudinal patterns and risk markers. Journal of Family Violence, 21(6), 387–399.

Cavanaugh, C. E., Martins, S. S., Petras, H., & Campbell, J. C. (2013). Mental disorders associated with subpopulations of women affected by violence and abuse. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26(4), 459–466.

CDC (1996). Physical violence and injuries in intimate relationships —New York, behavioral risk factor surveillance system, 1994. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 45(35), 765-767.

Ferguson, C. (2011). Love is a battlefield: risk factors and gender disparities for domestic violence among Mexican Americans. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 20(2), 227–236.

Mbilinyi, L., Logan-Greene, P. B., Neighbors, C., Walker, D. D., Roffman, R. A., & Zegree, J. (2012). Childhood domestic violence exposure among a community sample of adult perpetrators: what mediates the connection? Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 21(2), 171–187.

Meyer, J. W. (2010). World society, institutional theories, and the actor. Annual Review of Sociology, 36, 1–20.

Murrell, A. R., Christoff, K. A., & Nenning, K. R. (2007). Characteristics of domestic violence offenders: associations with childhood exposure to violence. Journal of Family Violence, 22(7), 523–532.

Pierroti, R. S. (2013). Increasing rejection of intimate partner violence: evidence of global cultural diffusion. American Sociological Review, 78(2), 240 –265.

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Romero-Martinez, A., Lila, M., Gonzalez, P. S., Bono, G., & Albiol, L. M. (2013). High testosterone levels and sensitivity to acute stress in perpetrators of domestic violence with low cognitive flexibility and impairments in their emotional decoding process: a preliminary study. Aggressive Behavior, 39(5), 355–369.

Valentine, C., Oehme, K., & Martin, A. (2012). Correctional officers and domestic violence: experiences and attitudes. Journal of Family Violence, 27(6), 531–545.

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