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Intimate partner violence: Beliefs and psychological predictors of the propensity to intervene

Conference contribution
Authors Helen Alfredsson
Karl Ask
Chris von Borgstede
Published in the 9th meeting of Nordic Network of Psychology and Law, Arhus, Denmark
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords intimate partner violence, norms, beliefs, intervention
Subject categories Psychology

Abstract

There is a public consensus that intimate partner violence (IPV) is unacceptable. Still, many people are reluctant to intervene personally. Even though public intervention is seen as one of the most important steps for the prevention of IPV, little research has focused on public beliefs about IPV and on intentions to intervene and what are predictors of the propensity to intervene against IPV. In this thesis public beliefs about IPV (Study 1) and possible predictors of propensity to intervene against IPV (Study 2) was investigated. In January of 2011 a web-based survey was distributed to 1 070 adults from the Swedish general population. The final response rate was 60.7% (N = 650). Results from the first study indicated that the respondents had fairly accurate beliefs about the prevalence of IPV. On the other hand, moderate levels of victim accountability indicated misbeliefs about victims’ responsibility for the violence. In addition, respondents provided narrow descriptions of viable means of intervention. Results from the second study showed that feeling personally obligated to intervene and experiencing negative emotions in relations to IPV might be especially important when forming intervention intentions. Moreover, viewing IPV to be a prevalent problem in society and being less inclined to see the offender as the primary problem solver predicted greater intentions to intervene. The current thesis contributes with valuable knowledge about factors that might facilitate or inhibit intentions to intervene against IPV. Such knowledge can be useful when designing information campaigns to increase public awareness and willingness to intervene.

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