Theory of Domestic Violence and Its Impact

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 8
Words: 2238
Reading time:
9 min
Study level: Bachelor


Domestic violence can be characterized as a series of actions in any relationship to gain or retain dominance and influence over a current or former partner. Forms of violence can be categorized into four broad categories: physical, sexual, financial, and psychological abuse. Domestic violence includes all actions that create fear or intimidate one’s partner, as well as any practice that harms or humiliates them (Beatriz et al., 2018). Anyone, regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, gender, age, or religion, can be a victim of domestic abuse. Due to factors such as the fear of stigmatization and male chauvinistic preconceptions, domestic violence against men is still under-reported internationally. Married, residing together, or dating partners can all be affected by domestic violence. Victims of family violence come from all lifestyles and educational levels.


Domestic violence is overwhelmingly a problem for women worldwide, and they tend to suffer more severe kinds of aggression than males. In addition, women are more likely than males to resort to self-defense violence against their intimate partners. Family violence may be appropriate or even legal in some nations, especially if the woman is accused or found guilty of infidelity. One in three women and one in four men have been subjected to physical abuse by an abusive partner at some point in their lives. Slapping, shoving, and pushing are examples of this vice but are not always considered domestic violence. More than a quarter of all women and men have been hurt by an intimate partner (Xia et al., 2018). Urban centers with less gender parity have a greater domestic violence rate than rural areas, and the association is strong enough to be statistically significant. Men and women are both victims of domestic abuse, which is one of the most widely debated crimes in the world. The societal stigma attached to male victimization makes it more likely that victims of family violence would go unnoticed by medical professionals.

Domestic violence and abuse manifest themselves in many ways, but sexual and physical assaults, as well as threats to perpetuate them, are the most detectable. If the abuser uses other abusive behaviors regularly and backs them up with physical violence, this creates a more extensive abuse network. Even if a victim is physically assaulted only once or twice, the experience leaves the victim fearful of further violence and gives the abuser power over the victim and surroundings. In many cases, domestic violence occurs because the perpetrator feels entitled to it or because they think it is appropriate, justified, or unlikely that anyone will bring it to the attention of authorities (Ingram et al., 2020). Children and other close relatives may believe that violence is expected or encouraged, setting off an intergenerational culture of violence. As a result, many people fail to recognize themselves as either abusers or victims because they view their encounters as relationship problems that have gone too far.

This is a common phenomenon in abusive relationships, where tensions grow before violence is perpetrated, followed by a moment of quiet. Domestic violence victims may be unable to leave their abusers due to a lack of resources, fear, humiliation, or the desire to protect their children from their abusers. Victims of abuse may suffer from physical limitations, dysregulated aggressiveness, chronic medical issues, mental illness, restricted income, and a poor capacity to form good relationships. Psychological illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may develop in the victims (Xia et al., 2018). Many children who grow up in a violent environment have early signs of mental illness, including avoidance, hypervigilance to threats, and dysregulated aggression. Domestic violence can be dealt with in various ways, including health services, enforcement agencies, counseling, and other types of intervention.

Literature Review

According to Ingram et al. (2020), aggressive conduct can show itself in a variety of contexts and surroundings throughout adolescence; at school (such as peer bullying) and at home (such as aggressiveness amongst siblings), as well as in future relationships. The adolescent maladaptive adjustment increases the likelihood of behavioral issues in later life. More frequent involvement in dating violence is linked to sibling aggressiveness in the same way peer bullying is. A graded dose-response association exists between exposure to parental conflict, direct victimization in the home, and seeing violence in the community, according to Xia et al. (2018) and Ingram et al. (2020). Exposure to parental violence increases a child’s chance of developing social, psychological, and physical health issues. Children exposed to parental violence are more likely to engage in violent behavior later. People exposed to violent behavior in their families are more likely to commit it themselves. During the first stage of this research, which included 894 adolescents from four different American middle schools, researchers looked at how exposure to domestic abuse predicted participation in classifications of aggressive behavior and sibling antagonism perpetration. It has been shown in the study that exposure to violence can lead to acts of aggression, which in turn can lead to a variety of negative consequences for one’s mental and behavioral health.

Ingram et al. (2020) and Xia et al. (2018) both found that violence, particularly against children, is frequently followed by a series of severe effects for victims all through their lives. Psychological disorders, such as sadness, anxiety, and PTSD, as well as externalizing behaviors in children, can occur when they are exposed to violence. In addition, studies demonstrate that aggression and violent conduct are detrimental to children’s educational and socioeconomic development. Persistence-offending, or circle of violence, refers to an individual’s tendency to commit crimes and be victimized repeatedly as an adult. Adolescents raised in a violent household are more likely to view violent behavior as a legitimate means of resolving interpersonal disagreements. Because of these aggressive activities, mainstream peer groups may have a strained relationship with the individual. 1192 junior and senior high school participants were randomly picked from a big city in southwest China. In this study, a structural equation model was used to examine the consequences of family violence on violent offenses and victimization. Chinese adolescents were found to be both perpetrators and victims of violence. An examination of teenage behavior revealed that those who had experienced familial violence as children were more likely than their peers to be exposed to peer violence and adopt violent norms, increasing their risk of violence.

Eisman et al. (2018) found that African American kids living in low-income metropolitan areas are more likely to suffer from domestic violence and drug abuse-related health problems. Contrary to the perspective taken by Ingram et al. (2020) and Xia et al. (2018), Eisman et al. (2018) seek to establish a solution to domestic violence and ascertain increasing positive peer and adult interactions is a way to lower the probability of adverse outcomes. Eisman et al. (2018) examined data from 681 adolescents from the middle of adolescence to the early stages of adulthood throughout several years in high school. A parallel mediation model was used to see if participation in organized activities reduces the risk of poor outcomes in the future by increasing positive social connections. Researchers discovered that participation indirectly affected cigarette usage and violent conduct through good peer interactions. They did not find any indirect effects from positive adult relationships. During adolescence, peer pressure can significantly impact a person’s future. Youth who participate in organized activities have a lower probability of experiencing poor consequences in the future because they form stronger bonds with their peers.

According to Garthe et al. (2018), adolescent dating aggression is a matter of national threat to public health, with surveys indicating that 10% to 45% of secondary students experience dating violence. Violent outcomes in urban children and adults have been repeatedly linked to structural disadvantages, such as low income and high mobility in housing. A total of 605 adults and 203 high school students from Chicago’s West and South regions participated in the study. Census data, adult residents’ reports on neighborhood social processes, and youth’s reports on dating violence were used to measure neighborhood-level concentrated disadvantage. Relationship violence was related to lower levels of informal social control and higher levels of social cohesion. It was discovered through a multidimensional mediation model that smaller amounts of coercive power were directly linked to higher rates of dating violence. Dating violence in urban areas is now included in the social disorganization theory, and this study’s findings emphasize the impact of neighborhood dynamics on violence in romantic relationships. Consideration is given to the implications of research and intervention programming.

When teens engage in teen dating violence (TDV), they attempt to manipulate, acquire power over, or otherwise exert control over their partners. Suicidal thoughts, mental health issues, and substance abuse problems are linked to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, including injuries, death, and suicidal ideation (Beatriz et al., 2018). Both Beatriz et al. (2018) and Garthe et al. (2018) concur that over half of 11- to 14-year-olds have dated, and between 10% and 30% had experienced TDV. There are no evidence-based domestic violence management programs for middle school students in high-risk areas. To address these issues, the Boston Public Health Commission has created a strategy called Start Strong Boston (SSB), which relies on collaborations between afterschool community programs, academic experts, and young people themselves. Peer investigators were the primary information collectors during the project. An evaluation of the SSB program using a youth participatory action research (YPAR) approach built on the previous collaboration’s results. Acceptable and realistic YPAR assessment models can be used to measure the effectiveness of an intervention program for middle school students.

Two Theoretical Frameworks

Social Learning Theory

The Social Learning Theory notion that urban violence is passed down through generations is a relevant theoretical framework for understanding these findings. Observing domestic violence between parents as a child may enhance an individual’s likelihood of committing domestic violence in adulthood. One of the most vital indicators of future partner violence (within marital and other intimate relations) amongst adults and adolescents is seeing domestic violence. Interpersonal partner violence is more prevalent in children who have witnessed it than in those who have not, and they are more likely to become offenders or victims of it themselves. The inclination to blame oneself for bad things and increased internalizing difficulties are linked to seeing violence in an intimate relationship (Ingram et al., 2020). Children in metropolitan areas are being taught that aggressive behavior is acceptable or beneficial. Observation of violence can influence a person’s belief system to regard violence as proper and usual. This suggests that aggressive interpersonal conduct is cognitively transmitted down the generations. This raises the likelihood that violence will be used in various circumstances.

Problem Behavior Theory

According to this theory, committing one negative behavior (such as bullying) in an urban setting enhances one’s chances of engaging in another. As a person’s beliefs and expectations are intertwined with one’s perception of their environment (parental supervision, peer acceptance), the mechanism emerges from three interlocking networks (e.g., conduct that elicit reward and rebuke). Depending on how they interact, an individual’s likelihood of engaging in problematic behavior increases or decreases. The Problem Behavior Theory explains bullying, sibling hostility, and other behavioral problems such as substance abuse, peer misbehavior, and deviant behavior (Ingram et al., 2020). Medical and psychiatric issues and aggression are frequently linked in adolescents. Adolescents are affected by these issues regardless of their color, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, or religion. These theories illuminate the need for a more extensive analysis of the different forms of violence children are exposed to in their families and communities and the corresponding need to decrease them, in light of the growing evidence that aggression harms children’s well-being.

Critical Analysis

In urban areas, many youngsters are exposed to violence in their families. The home may no longer be safe for children if their parents are the abusers. Seeing violence between parents, punishing child-rearing, and other forms of physical abuse can lead to violent criminal conduct later in life. In both social learning and problem-solving theories, teenagers who grow up in a violent home setting are more likely to see violence as a viable option for dealing with conflict. Because of these aggressive actions, the school and peer connections may be disrupted, and the use of drugs, bullying, and other unlawful conduct may be carried over. They may associate with other violent youths, learn violent norms, and conduct acts of violence to feel more integrated into their peers’ worlds. Adolescents may be more likely to become victims or perpetrators of violence if associated with violent friendship groups that encourage violence.

Social support denotes the relationships that supply (or can potentially offer) the recipient with material and interpersonal resources. Domestic violence is more likely to occur in households with little or no social support and participation in social networks. Individual and group counseling, guidance on parenting approaches, child and home care, economic and housing aid, sharing of duties and functions, acquiring skills, and access to data and services are social support services that can help alleviate family stress. Social network assessment techniques show that treatments can minimize social isolation in violent families, thus reducing their likelihood of engaging in aggressive behaviors. Family assistance, parenting education, and other forms of therapy for children and families are all examples of social service interventions. Services such as financial support or material help, institutional arrangement, mental health services, rehabilitative services, supervision, schooling and transportation, accommodation and medical care, legal assistance, and in-home support are social service interventions.


Beatriz, E. D., Lincoln, A. K., Alder, J., Daley, N., Simmons, F., Ibeh, K., Figueroa, C., & Molnar, B. E. (2018). Evaluation of a teen dating violence prevention intervention among urban middle-school youth using youth participatory action research: Lessons learned from Start Strong Boston. Journal of family violence, 33(8), 563-578.

Eisman, A. B., Lee, D. B., Hsieh, H. F., Stoddard, S. A., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2018). More than just keeping busy: The protective effects of organized activity participation on violence and substance use among urban youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 47(10), 2231-2242.

Garthe, R. C., Gorman‐Smith, D., Gregory, J., & E. Schoeny, M. (2018). Neighborhood concentrated disadvantage and dating violence among urban adolescents: The mediating role of neighborhood social processes. American Journal of Community Psychology, 61(4), 310-320.

Ingram, K. M., Espelage, D. L., Davis, J. P., & Merrin, G. J. (2020). Family violence, sibling, and peer aggression during adolescence: Associations with behavioral health outcomes. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11, 26-37.

Xia, Y., Li, S. D., & Liu, T. H. (2018). The interrelationship between family violence, adolescent violence, and adolescent violent victimization: An application and extension of the cultural spillover theory in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(2), 371-378.