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RCGV researchers develop typology of IPV perpetrators

Thursday at noon Dr. Hyunkag Cho and his coauthors will present at Michigan State University’s School of Social Work Research Colloquium. The presentation will consist of the group’s analysis on results from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, an on-going research project conducted by the U.S. Center for Disease Control. To extrapolate on the national survey, Dr. Cho, Dr. WooJong Kim and RCGV graduate students Abbie Nelson and Jennifer Allen devised a perpetrator typology with a unique focus on multiple types of IPV committed.

The team used data from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey which included a sample of 16,507 perpetrators reported by IPV survivors interviewed in a national telephone survey. Dr. Cho’s recent study “Concurrent Intimate Partner Violence, Survivors’ Health and Help-Seeking” (currently under review) used a latent class analysis procedure of eight different IPV types reported by survivors in the national survey. In his study, Cho acknowledged that earlier studies have supplied valuable contributions to understand patterns of IPV; however, they tend to leave out certain types — such as stalking and coercive control — and do not account for concurrent violence, in which multiple types of IPV are committed by a perpetrator.

“Most [previously conducted IPV research] has focused on the most recent episode of IPV either happening last year or within six months…it tends to consider only one specific type of violence at a time,” Cho said. “Many victims — not all, but many — actually experience more than one type of violence. So, survivors’ help-seeking might be affected by that sheer number of multiple types of violence they experienced.”

The national survey included the first-person recollections from survivors with detailed information on the forms of violence they experienced. Using those recounts, Dr. Cho’s team found six IPV patterns, or perpetrator subgroups: Molesters, Humiliators, Predators, Manipulators, Bullies and Stalkers. The study results suggested that, among the six groups, “Manipulators who perpetrated coercive control and psychological aggression were the most common.”

This study also explored the differences across perpetrator subgroups in gender, relationship status, health consequences, and survivors’ help-seeking. One inconsistency in the IPV research field that Dr. Cho tried to address in this study are differences between male survivors and male perpetrators of IPV compared to female survivors and perpetrators. The results of the study affirmed field knowledge that male perpetrators tend to use severe physical violence (e.g., Predators) and female perpetrators often use non-physical violence (e.g., Manipulators). Based on their findings, the research team called for further investigation on the sociodemographic factors and reasoning behind these gender differences.

With multiple variables used — such as types of victimization, relationship status, perpetrator tactics and survivor health outcomes — the study results argue “intervention and prevention approaches that consider perpetrator types as a part of a survivor’s need assessment will improve services to meet the survivor’s needs.” Cho added that, while the survey data found male survivors’ experiences to be “less severe” than female survivors’, this statistic has caused a public misconception among many service providers. In a past study Cho conducted assessing student survivors’ help-seeking behaviors, he asked male participants to explain why they didn’t seek formal services, such as mental health service providers or clinics.

“One of those reasons is that service providers didn’t understand their specific needs,” said Cho, connecting the results from his past research to supply further context. “It just implied that potentially gender and sexual minorities might have additional barriers to formal services.”

Dr. Cho’s recent project on concurrent IPV is part of his continued advocacy for practitioners to avoid treating survivors as a monolith. He said that after a presentation of his latest work on concurrent IPV, service providers have asked him for “quick guides” or pamphlets of his research. “That kind of urgency, or a quick step, might lead to misreading IPV,” said Cho, “A one-size-fits-all solution is not possible. [Service providers] have to consider every case as if it’s very valid, regardless if they are male survivors, female survivors or immigrants.”

More research from Dr. Cho on IPV and help-seeking behaviors will be available on the Racialized Sexual Harassment project page (coming soon!).

More related research from Dr. Cho:

Cho, H., & Kwon, I. (2018). Intimate partner violence, cumulative violence exposure, and mental health service use. Community Mental Health Journal. 54(3), 259-266. doi:10.1007/s10597-017-0204-x

Cho, H. & Huang, L. (2016). Aspects of help seeking among collegiate victims of dating violence. Journal of Family Violence. doi:10.1007/s10896-016-9813-3

Cho, H., Shamrova, D., & Han, J., & Levchenko, P. (in press). Patterns of intimate partner violence victimization and survivors’ help-seeking. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.doi.10.1177/0886260517715027

About RCGV

MSU’s Research Consortium on Gender-Based Violence faculty and staff are dedicated to research and outreach initiatives related to ending and preventing gender-based violence and improving the community response to survivors. RCGV faculty are committed to mentoring the next generation of gender-based violence researchers by providing substantial educational and employment opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant and widespread social problem internationally, devastating adults, children, families and societies across the globe. It includes any form of harm that is both a consequence and cause of gender power inequities. It can be physical, psychological, sexual, economic, or sociocultural, and includes but is not limited to sexual abuse, rape, intimate partner abuse, incest, sexual harassment, stalking, femicide, trafficking, gendered hate crimes and dowry abuse. Gender-based violence intersects with race-based, class-based or religiously oppressive forms of abuse, and cross-cuts many other social problems (e.g., poverty, substance abuse, mental and physical health, crime).

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