Jacobson, N.S., Gottman, J.M. (1998, April). Anatomy Of A Violent Relationship
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Jacobson, N.S., Gottman, J.M. (1998, April). Anatomy of a Violent Relationship
Psychology Today, pp. 61-84
This article was written by Dr. Neil S. Jacobson, and Dr. John M. Gottman, two leading marriage researchers. To format their research question "how does a marital argument that leads to battery of a partner, start?", they utilized a public service announcement to obtain a sample of 63 battering couples, as well as a control group of couples who were equally dissatisfied with their marriages but without the incidence of battery. Both of the authors of this article felt that existing studies of the dynamics of battering didn't provide adequate answers, because the previous studies relied on after-the-fact reports by batterers and their victims. This after-the-fact reporting of abuse by one partner or the other was often biased and easily distorted "as abundant psychological research shows that people are simply not reliable observers of their own or their intimate partner's behavior". Therefore, the authors of this article decided to take a new approach. Although they realized they would not directly observe violence between the subjects in the laboratory, the researchers would be able to observe their nonviolent arguments in the laboratory, interview them regarding these encounters and judge their accounts of violent arguments by the accuracy of their reports. Couples were observed in a laboratory setting, hooked up to electrodes, heart rate monitors and were videotaped as their arguments occurred. This was an 8 year study.
Some of the myth-shattering discoveries of this study included:
Batterers are unpredictable and are unable to be influenced by their partners.
Once the argument has started it is inevitable that battering will follow.
Battered women are neither passive nor submissive - sometimes they are as angry as the batterer.
Women almost never batter men, although a lot of women defend themselves by hitting or pushing.
Batterers are classified into two distinct types: the pitbull (brewing) and the cobra (fast striking). The classification of batterer is important as it affects the course of action the woman will take in order to successfully leave the relationship. .
Emotional abuse plays a vital role in battering, undermining a woman's confidence in herself and her ability to leave the relationship and survive without her battering partner.
Domestic violence can decrease on its own - but it almost nev
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