Date of Award
Master of Arts of Psychological Sciences
Experimental Psychology, Psychology, Social Psychology
Background: About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV; CDC, 2019). Although there have been numerous studies on IPV, our knowledge pertains to IPV in heterosexual couples. Although IPV occurs at similar rates in both opposite and same sex couples, studies suggest that individuals are more likely to evaluate IPV in opposite-sex couples as more severe compared to same-sex couples. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine college students’ perceptions of IPV in both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. Procedure: The study included 144 participants who read eight vignettes, four of depicting psychological abuse and four depicting physical abuse. Vignettes were randomly presented and counterbalanced by perpetrator’s gender (male or female) and couple status (same-sex or opposite-sex). Participants answered questions regarding their perceptions of severity and harm in each scenario, as well as items about attitudes towards homosexuality and their own history of IPV. Result: IPV perceptions of severity and harm did not differ between vignettes with either same-sex or opposite-sex couples, p=0.18. IPV in opposite and same-sex couples involving a male perpetrator did not significantly differ in IPV severity when compared to opposite and same-sex couples involving a female perpetrator, p =0.23. IPV was perceived as more severe with a higher personal history of IPV (p < 0.01) and among those who harbored negative views about sexual minorities (p < 0.01). iv Discussion: Across vignettes, psychological abuse was seen as less severe than physical abuse. When examining the couple × perpetrator interaction, IPV in opposite and same-sex couples involving a male perpetrator did not significantly differ in IPV severity when compared to opposite and same-sex couples involving a female perpetrator. The difference between opposite sex couples was not significantly higher than same-sex couples. Further, in same-sex couples, the difference was not significantly smaller. It is possible that there could be couple and perpetrator effects; however, the effects were too small to be detected by the chosen manipulation.
Frazier, Eric K., "An Examination Of Perceptions Of Intimate Partner Violence Severity Within Same-Sex Compared To Opposite-Sex Couples" (2021). ETD Archive. 1317.