Patterns of Misreporting Intimate Partner Violence Using Matched Pairs

Open Access
Author:
Wenger, Marin Ruth
Graduate Program:
Crime, Law and Justice
Degree:
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
June 13, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Derek Allen Kreager, Thesis Advisor
  • Richard B Felson, Thesis Advisor
  • Julie Horney, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • intimate partner violence
  • social desirability
  • reporting discrepancies
Abstract:
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an issue of serious public concern. However, IPV policy interventions and theoretical development have been complicated by mixed research evidence about whether men or women experience higher levels of IPV. Some of this discrepancy arises from IPV’s measurement and whether abuse and victimization is asked of one or both partners. In this study, I examine partner IPV reporting discrepancies and develop hypotheses for why such discrepancies might exist. I examine IPV reporting discrepancies with matched partner data from 1,393 heterosexual couples collected in Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. I hypothesize that discrepancies in reporting between men and women may be caused by gendered effects of social desirability, such that 1) disagreement about violence will be greater for reports of male perpetrated violence than female perpetrated violence, 2) disagreement about victimization will be greater for reports of male victimization than female victimization, 3) disagreement between partner reports of male perpetrated violence and victimization will increase with the seriousness of IPV, 4) disagreement between partner reports of male perpetrated violence and victimization will decrease with the seriousness of IPV, and 5) disagreement about men’s victimization will be greater for men with higher levels of masculinity. Finally, I hypothesize that masculinity may be the mechanism which explains male underreporting of victimization, such that more masculine men will be more likely to deny victimization than less masculine men. Overall, results suggest that disagreement is greater for male perpetrated violence and victimization than for female perpetrated violence and victimization, with the exception of injury, and that disagreement increases with the seriousness of IPV. I find no association between masculinity and men’s reports of IPV. Therefore, reports of IPV are subject to social desirability bias, but masculinity is not the explanatory mechanism.