Cyber Abuse in Romantic Relationships
Cyber forms of intimate partner violence involve the use of electronic methods such as email, text messaging, websites, apps, social media platforms, and GPS tracking units to carry out abuse toward romantic partners. Abusive acts can include mild forms of cyber aggression such as insulting, belittling, and swearing at a partner as well as more severe acts such as making threats, publicly embarrassing one’s partner, engaging in sexual coercion, and stalking. This chapter will summarize research on cyber abuse in teen, emerging adult, and adult romantic relationships, and it will review the interconnections between cyber abuse and other types of intimate partner violence. Various types of cyber abuse will be described including emotional abuse (e.g., name-calling); ignoring/exclusion (e.g., purposely ignoring communications from one’s partner); sexual abuse (e.g., pressuring one’s partner to take and send sexually explicit images); and intrusion/monitoring/stalking behaviors (e.g., making a partner text a picture to verify their current location or using GPS tracking units). Prevalence rates of cyber abuse and assessment methods will be reviewed. This chapter will also review potential risk factors for cyber abuse. Suggestions for the prevention of cyber abuse, safety tips for victims, and recommended directions for future research will be provided.
KeywordsCyber abuse Cyber aggression Electronic aggression Intimate partner violence Partner abuse
- Barry, R. A., & Lawrence, E. (2013). “Don’t stand so close to me”: An attachment perspective of disengagement and avoidance in marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 27(3), 484–494.Google Scholar
- Bennett, D. C., Guran, E. L., Ramos, M. C., & Margolin, G. (2011). College students’ electronic victimization in friendships and dating relationships: Anticipated distress and associations with risky behaviors. Violence and Victims, 26(4), 410–429. https://doi.org/10.1891/0886-6708.26.4.410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Borrajo, E., Gámez-Guadix, M., & Calvete, E. (2015a). Justification beliefs of violence, myths about love and cyber dating abuse. Psicothema, 27(4), 327–333.Google Scholar
- Brem, M. J., Florimbio, A. R., Grigorian, H., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Elmquist, J., Shorey, R. C., … & Stuart, G. L. (2017). Cyber abuse among men arrested for domestic violence: Cyber monitoring moderates the relationship between alcohol problems and intimate partner violence. Psychology of Violence. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/vio0000130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Bui, N. H., & Pasalich, D. S. (2018). Insecure attachment, maladaptive personality traits, and the perpetration of in-person and cyber psychological abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260518760332.
- Cambridge, E. (2018). Revenge porn death: Boyfriend whose girlfriend jumped to her death after he threatened to send video of her snorting coke and performing sex act walks free from court. Retrieved September 15, 2018, from https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6087908/boyfriend-whose-girlfriend-jumped-to-her-death-after-he-threatened-to-send-video-of-her-snorting-coke-and-performing-sex-act-walks-free-from-court/
- Chung, J. (2018). ‘I am going to change your life for the worse’: NY attorney pleads guilty to cyberstalking woman for years. Retrieved September 15, 2018 from, http://gothamist.com/2018/08/23/waldman_cyberstalking.php
- Crane, C. A., Umehira, N., Berbary, C., & Easton, C. J. (2018). Problematic alcohol use as a risk factor for cyber aggression within romantic relationships. The American Journal on Addictions, 27(5), 400–406. Google Scholar
- Dick, R. N., McCauley, H. L., Jones, K. A., Tancredi, D. J., Goldstein, S., Blackburn, S., … & Miller, E. (2014). Cyber dating abuse among teens using school-based health centers. Pediatrics, 134(6), e1560–e1567.Google Scholar
- Foshee, V. A., Benefield, T., Dixon, K. S., Chang, L.-Y., Senkomago, V., Ennett, S. T., … Bowling, J. M. (2015). The effects of moms and teens for safe dates: A dating abuse prevention program for adolescents exposed to domestic violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(5), 995–1010. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-015-0272-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Fritz, P. A. T., & Piitz, J. (2008). Partner aggression technology scale (PATS). Unpublished measurement instrument, Department of Psychology, University of Windsor, Windsor.Google Scholar
- Gottman, J. M. (1994). What predicts divorce? The relationship between marital processes and marital outcomes. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Hamby, S. (2013). The Partner Cyber Abuse Questionnaire: Preliminary psychometrics of technology-based intimate partner violence. Paper presented at the annual convention of the Southeastern Psychological Association, Atlanta.Google Scholar
- Joseph, A. (2018). Distraught lover, 26, left her boyfriend a suicide note saying ‘I love you, sorry’ before jumping to her death after he threatened to ‘destroy’ her by sending revenge porn video of the pair to her family. Retrieved September 15, 2018, from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5509569/Distraught-lover-26-left-boyfriend-suicide-note-death.html
- Mod, G. (2010). Reading romance: The impact Facebook rituals can have on a romantic relationship. Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, 1, 61–77.Google Scholar
- Morelli, M., Bianchi, D., Baiocco, R., Pezzuti, L., & Chirumbolo, A. (2016a). Sexting, psychological distress and dating violence among adolescents and young adults. Psicothema, 28(2), 137–142.Google Scholar
- MTV-AP. (2009). 2009 AP-MTV digital abuse study. Retrieved from http://www.athinline.org/MTV-AP_Digital_Abuse_Study_Executive_Summary.pdf.
- Peskin, M. F., Markham, C. M., Shegog, R., Temple, J. R., Baumler, E. R., Addy, R. C., … & Emery, S. T. (2017). Prevalence and correlates of the perpetration of cyber dating abuse among early adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46(2), 358–375.Google Scholar
- Picard, P. (2007). Tech abuse in teen relationships study. Chicago: Teen Research Unlimited. Retrieved on October 1, 2017, from http://www.loveisrespect.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/liz-claiborne-2007-tech-relationship-abuse.pdf
- Powell, A., & Henry, N. (2019). Technology-facilitated sexual violence victimization: Results from an online survey of Australian adults. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34(17), 3637–3665.Google Scholar
- Preddy, T. M. (2018). Assessment and investigation of electronic aggression in the romantic relationships of emerging adults. Doctoral Dissertation Tennessee, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Retrieved from https://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_graddiss/3458/
- Southworth, C., Dawson, S., Fraser, C., & Tucker, S. (2005). A high-tech twist on abuse: Technology, intimate partner stalking, and advocacy. Violence against women online resources. Retrieved October 30, 2018, from https://www.acesdv.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NNEDV_HighTechTwist_PaperAndApxA_English08.pdf
- Temple, J. R., Choi, H. J., Brem, M., Wolford-Clevenger, C., Stuart, G. L., Peskin, M. F., & Elmquist, J. (2016). The temporal association between traditional and cyber dating abuse among adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45(2), 340–349. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-015-0380-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Van Ouytsel, J., Ponnet, K., & Walrave, M. (2017a). Cyber dating abuse: Investigating digital monitoring behaviors among adolescents from a social learning perspective. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 88626051771953. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517719538.
- Van Ouytsel, J., Torres, E., Choi, H. J., Ponnet, K., Walrave, M., & Temple, J. R. (2017b). The associations between substance use, sexual behaviors, bullying, deviant behaviors, health, and cyber dating abuse perpetration. The Journal of School Nursing, 33(2), 116–122. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059840516683229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Zweig, J. M., Dank, M., Lachman, P., & Yahner, J. (2013a). Technology, teen dating violence and abuse, and bullying. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Justice Policy Center. Retrieved from https://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/publication/23941/412891-Technology-Teen-Dating-Violence-and-Abuse-and-Bullying.PDF.Google Scholar