Category: Violence / Aggression
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 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 Shorey– Assistant Professor, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
Gregory Stuart– Professor, University of Tennessee