Theories Of Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence:
Early Exposure to Violence and How Violence Affects Children and Families
By: Emily Lopez
Texas Woman’s University
03/06/2018

Abstract
Domestic Violence is an issue that is prevalent in the United States. Domestic violence can have a tremendous impact on individuals, children and families and last a lifetime. This paper will examine two theories, social learning theory and conflict theory, and will be used to address the issue of domestic violence. Social learning theory will be used to examine the basis of learned behavior, specifically early exposure to violence, and how the behaviors observed by an individual may later become imitated in one’s relationships. Conflict theory will also be used to examine
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Social learning theory states that an individual will model behaviors that one has been exposed to as a child (Chibucos, Leite, & Weis, 2005). As a child, it is through observation and imitating other people that we learn our behaviors and what is acceptable or normal behaviors. Violence is said to be a learned behavior which can be learned directly or indirectly through family members, friends, partners, etc. These learned behaviors are reinforced in childhood and can continue into adulthood through a term called operant conditioning. Bandura (1973) mentions that these behaviors that continue into adulthood typically act as a coping response to stress or as a method of conflict resolution. It is said that children who are mistreated by their parents and learned aggressive behaviors through social interaction went on to express these behaviors later in life and in their intimate relationships (Ehrensaft, Cohen, Brown, Smailes, Chen & Johnson, 2003). There is no doubt that witnessing and experiencing violence firsthand can increase one’s tolerance for violence and puts one at a greater risk for exhibiting the same behaviors as an adult. The intergenerational transmission of violence hypothesis also shows that childhood experiences from abuse or witnessing domestic…show more content…
Conflict theory can best be defined as viewing self interest as a basic human motivation. This human motivation comes from the will to survive and a strong desire to fulfill one’s needs and desires in life. It is said that conflict typically arises between individuals, groups or family members out of competing interests. Conflict theory doesn’t see conflict as being problematic, instead conflict theory suggests that conflict is necessary and often desirable to produce change (Chibucos, Leite & Weis, 2005). When it comes to the family unit, conflict theory argues that power among family members is unequally distributed with the male figure typically having the most power within the family. With the male figure typically holding the most power within the family unit, it is said that this power difference can sometimes lead to issues of domestic violence and abuse (Chibucos, Leite & Weis, 2005). Due to social norms and society, conflict theory tends to focus on the “traditional nuclear family” and one’s social roles placed upon mothers and fathers. Conflict theory suggests that any major changes to the family unit or family roles of the mother and father can cause chaos and cause intimate partner

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