Exploring the patterns of intimate partner violence (IPV) and the utility of a rejection-abuse cycle model of IPV on a male and female Singapore prison sample
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 00:30 by Diane Hsiao Yuan Chew
Intimate partner violence (IPV) research is concentrated in the West and in Asian societies as Singapore; there remains paucity in IPV research. Moreover, as IPV has traditionally been understood as male-on-female violence nested within patriarchy, majority of research has focused on understanding male whilst neglecting female perpetration. Such is the case even though there is substantive evidence that women perpetrate IPV at rates and severities comparable to men. For these reasons, this paper explored IPV from an attachment framework that cuts across both gender and culture. In particular, using the Revised Conflicts Tactics Scale and a variety of psychometric tests, this study surveyed 99 men and 96 women from a Singapore prison. Indeed, prisoners were chosen because 1) in Singapore, IPV had never been studied in this population, and 2) a high percentage of prisoners experience attachment impairments. Thereby increasing the relevance of studying IPV from an attachment framework. Study 1 explored the rates and types of IPV perpetrated by men and women. Women self-reported higher rates of physical IPV perpetration and victimization than men; and both sexes were found perpetrate comparable amounts of controlling and non-controlling IPV. While results immediately suggest that women perpetrated (and hence possibly received) more IPV than men, and that controlling and non-controlling violence was perpetrated equally across sex; premature conclusions regarding gender must not be made because of the poor reliability of men's self-reported physical IPV perpetration and because although men and women generally matched on most demographic variables, some pre-existing differences were found between men and women in this sample. Study 2 and 3 first explored the relationship between a range of variables (including insecure [avoidant and anxious] attachment, shame and alexithymia) and IPV perpetration by men and women respectively. Second, the variables of anxious attachment, shame, alexithymia and IPV perpetration were linked together to test the applicability of a circular model of rejection-abuse. Different variables were found to underlie men and women's IPV perpetration. Furthermore, whilst partial support for the rejection-abuse model was found to fit with men's use of coercive control (a post-hoc measure of men's psychological IPV), the model did not fit well with any forms of women's IPV perpetration. No doubt, being the first of its kind in Singapore, results from this study are preliminary and because of the specificity of the sample, cannot be generalized beyond this study. Results suggest that even though women and men both reported perpetrating controlling and non-controlling IPV, the underlying risk factors and motivation for IPV differ. Thus, it is likely that different models of IPV perpetration are needed to understand and treat male and female perpetration. Further to discussing the theoretical and practical implication of results, the limitations of the study are also recognised and suggestions for future research presented.