Category: Violence / Aggression

PS4- #C90 - Cyber Monitoring Moderates the Association Between Alcohol Problems and Intimate Partner Violence Among Men Arrested for Domestic Violence

Friday, Nov 17
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Intimate Partner Aggression | Alcohol | Violence / Sexual Assault

The I3 theory (pronounced “I Cubed”; Finkel & Eckhardt, 2013) posits that intimate partner violence (IPV) is especially likely to occur when (1) an individual consumes alcohol and (2) when alcohol use is paired with an instigatory cue that elicits negative affect. Technology such as smart phones and social media allow individuals to monitor a partner’s online activity (i.e., cyber monitoring), thereby providing virtually constant access to potential instigatory cues (e.g., threats to one’s established romantic relationship such as extra-dyadic partners or relationship dissatisfaction) known to elicit negative affect (e.g., jealousy; Cohen et al., 2014). Men who engage in cyber monitoring may experience a number of instigatory cues which may, when paired with the disinhibiting properties of alcohol, facilitate IPV. However, no studies have explored this possibility. Using a sample of men arrested for domestic violence (DV) and informed by the I3 theory, we hypothesized that alcohol problems would be associated with psychological and physical IPV perpetration among men who engaged in high, but not low, levels of cyber monitoring.


            Cross-sectional data were collected from 216 men arrested for DV and court-ordered to batterer intervention programs. Nine items from the Controlling Partner Inventory (Burke et al., 2011) assessed frequency of cyber monitoring. The Psychological Aggression and Physical Assault perpetration subscales of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales (Straus et al., 1996) assessed psychological and physical IPV. The Alcohol Abuse/Dependence Disorder subscale of the Psychiatric Diagnostic Screening Questionnaire (Zimmerman, 2002; Zimmerman & Mattia, 2001) assessed alcohol problems.


            We conducted hierarchical multiple regression analyses using Hayes’ and Matthes’ (2009) macro for SPSS to test the interaction between cyber monitoring and alcohol problems predicting IPV perpetration. Psychological aggression and physical assault perpetration were examined as separate outcome variables. Results of a two-way interaction between alcohol problems and cyber monitoring predicting psychological aggression perpetration revealed the interaction term significantly predicted psychological aggression, F(1, 236) = 6.54, p < .05; alcohol problems predicted psychological aggression for men with high (B = 5.21, p < .001), but not low (B = .42, p = .76), levels of cyber monitoring. Results of a two-way interaction between alcohol problems and cyber monitoring predicting physical assault revealed the interaction term significantly predicted physical assault, F(1, 233) = 7.26, p < .01; alcohol problems predicted physical assault perpetration for men with high (B = 2.08, p < .001), but not low (B = -.39, p =.56), levels of cyber monitoring.


            Results suggest it is important to examine cyber monitoring among DV offenders. Limitations and implications will be discussed.

Meagan J. Brem

Graduate Research Assistant
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee

Alisa Garner

Graduate Research Assistant
University of Tennessee

Hannah Grigorian

Graduate Research Assistant
University of Tennessee

JoAnna Elmquist

Graduate Student
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee

Autumn Rae Florimbio

Graduate Research Assistant
University of Tennessee

Ryan C. Shorey

Assistant Professor
Ohio University
Athens, Ohio

Gregory L. Stuart

Professor
University of Tennessee