By Christopher M. Murphy PhD, Christopher I. Eckhardt PhD
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Extra resources for Treating the Abusive Partner: An Individualized Cognitive-Behavioral Approach
In one early study, Walker (1984) found that about 60% of battered women reported that they were forced to have sex by their partners. Frieze (1983) reported that about one-third of battered women had experienced forced sex consistent with the legal definition of rape. In subsequent studies, researchers have described two types of sexually aggressive behaviors. The first type, labeled “sexual coercion,” involves efforts to obtain sexual compliance or gratification through behaviors such as verbal pressuring, deception, denigrating comments, or threats 18 TREATING THE ABUSIVE PARTNER to end the relationship.
For some individuals, physically and emotionally abusive behaviors may serve to prevent the immediate threat of partner abandonment or may maintain emotional distance, providing a method for regulating intimate emotions. In the developmental framework, these behaviors are seen as “attachment protest,” whereby angry and coercive expressions serve to elicit a caring response from loved ones. To date, only a handful of studies have investigated the attachment construct with appropriate nonviolent comparison groups.
A second problem related to the first stems from the confusion that exists whenever one tries to assess a construct that is poorly defined, namely that most anger assessment instruments suffer from a variety of psychometric inadequacies (for a review, see Eckhardt, Norlander, & Deffenbacher, 2004), hampering the ability to draw definitive conclusions about the status of anger and hostility as IPV risk factors. Finally, there is a persistent bias against the mere notion of anger as a correlate of IPV among many domestic violence advocates.
Treating the Abusive Partner: An Individualized Cognitive-Behavioral Approach by Christopher M. Murphy PhD, Christopher I. Eckhardt PhD