Determinants of Verbal Partner Violence During COVID-19 Pandemic

The research study discussed in this post concluded “parenthood” as a significant predictor of verbal partner violence during the COVID-19 pandemic lock down. This may seem like sensible common knowledge but do we really consider the impact on our children’s emotional health?

The journal Gender and Violence recently published a research study conducted on the determinants of verbal partner violence (arguments and conflict) during lock-down from the coronavirus. The research study was conducted on 2,889 participants living in Flanders. The Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium. The following determinant risk factors were found to be gender, age, student status, educational degree, employment status, parenthood, ability to seclude, and the number of social contacts. Determinant risk factors of the pandemic were fear of infection and corona stress.

Results

Regarding gender, the researchers found a significant difference in verbal partner violence experienced between men and women. Women reported significantly higher levels of verbal partner violence than men.

Regarding age, the researchers found a significant increase in verbal partner violence in the age groups: 18–24, 25–34, 35–44 years. Additionally, researchers found significantly less verbal partner violence in the age categories 65+ and the age group of 55–64 years.

Regarding students, the researchers found a significant increase in verbal partner violence in students who were attending school than people who were retired. This ties into the age variable as younger people experience higher frequencies of verbal partner violence than older groups 55–64 years and 65+.

Regarding educational degree, the researchers found no significant difference in verbal partner violence based on people’s educational level. However, it was noted that the respondents with a status of “no diploma” were significantly small (1.2%). This implies there may be a connection between increased verbal partner violence based on a “no diploma” status but the researchers could not validate those findings through this study.

Regarding employment status, the researchers discovered people who were temporarily unemployed or who had been unemployed for a long time experienced significantly higher frequencies of verbal partner violence during lockdown than others who were employed full-time or part-time. In addition, it has been noted by other researchers those who maintain an “unemployed” status experience a higher frequency of targeted violence such as witnessed among the homeless populations and the addicted.

Regarding parenthood, the researchers discovered people with children under the age of 18 living in their household experienced significantly more verbal partner violence than respondents with no children living in the house.

Regarding the ability to seclude oneself as a strategy to reduce verbal partner violence during the COVID-19 lock down the researchers found those with the ability to seclude themselves experienced significantly less verbal partner violence.

Regarding social contact, the researchers discovered people who had more personal social contact (higher number of people to reach out to discuss problems with) had lower amounts of verbal partner violence than people with less social contacts. This information ties into the research study “The Phenomenology of Group Stalking (‘Gang Stalking’): A Content Analysis of Subjective Experiences” as one of the narratives given for the reason behind this form of targeted violence. That is to say, its purpose is to “move people into therapy.” This suggests that the phenomenology of Group Stalking and targeted violence is being carried out on a particular social group with “treatable mental diseases” who are eligible for treatment, and as I have suggested before, a social group that may be “resistant to therapy” thru forced coercive control tactics. If this is so, is this constitutionally correct regarding individuals’ civil rights? And if this is so, is it the medical professionals encouraging the targeted violence, or is it more likely this social group with “less social contacts” is suffering an increased level of domestic violence/abuse because of their vulnerability? As we can support this thesis because as I have stated previously, abuse contributes to loss of identity and abusers frequently use tactics of isolation to keep people in seclusion. (*)

Regarding the COVID-19 determinant variable, fear of infection and corona stress, the researchers found both to be significant predictors to verbal partner violence.

The researchers found that women more than men, younger age groups more than older age groups, students more than retired people, people whose partners were long term unemployed or temporarily unemployed due to the pandemic more than people whose partners were retired, parents of children younger than 18 years more than people without children in their household, people without the ability to seclude themselves from other members of the household, and people with fewer social contacts experienced higher frequencies of verbal partner violence during the lockdown.

The researchers state, “our study is not without its limitations limitation. One limitation is that partner violence was measured from a nondyadic perspective. By relying on the account of only one of the partners in the relationship, it is impossible to account for individual biases, interactional processes, and relationship complexity. Future research should further assess this matter using a dyadic research approach.” More specifically, women and participants with higher educational attainment were overrepresented. Additionally they state, “our findings provide important and concrete insights for policymakers and health professionals so that support can be facilitated to those particularly in need during this or future pandemics. For example, as we found that parents and people who were unable to seclude themselves from other members of their household experienced more partner violence during the lockdown, it would be fruitful to tailor partner violence prevention and intervention efforts to these groups.”

Sources:

Schokkenbroek, Jannek M.; Anrijs, Sarah; Ponnet, Koen; and Hardyns, Wim. Lock Down Together: Determinants of Verbal Partner Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Violence and Gender. Vol. 8, №3, Published August 25, 2021. Retrieved online September 14, 2021.

(*) Sheridan, Lorraine; James, David V.; and Roth, Jayden. (March 12, 2020) The Phenomenology of Group Stalking (‘Gang Stalking’): A Content Analysis of Subjective Experiences. International Journal of Environmental Research Public Health. 17(7), 2506. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/7/2506/htm#B5-ijerph-17-02506

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