Advertisement

Cyber Abuse in Romantic Relationships

  • Penny A. LeisringEmail author
  • Danielle M. Farrell
  • Daniela M. Scotto
Living reference work entry

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Cyber abuse Cyber aggression Electronic aggression Intimate partner violence Partner abuse 

References

  1. 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
  2. Bates, S. (2017). Revenge porn and mental health: A qualitative analysis of the mental health effects of revenge porn on female survivors. Feminist Criminology, 12(1), 22–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Borrajo, E., Gámez-Guadix, M., Pereda, N., & Calvete, E. (2015b). The development and validation of the cyber dating abuse questionnaire among young couples. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 358–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 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
  7. Brown, C., & Hegarty, K. (2018). Digital dating abuse measures: A critical review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 40, 44–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 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.
  9. Burke, S. C., Wallen, M., Vail-Smith, K., & Knox, D. (2011). Using technology to control intimate partners: An exploratory study of college undergraduates. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(3), 1162–1167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 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/
  11. 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
  12. Couch, D., & Liamputtong, P. (2008). Online dating and mating: The use of the internet to meet sexual partners. Qualitative Health Research, 18(2), 268–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 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
  14. Dank, M., Lachman, P., Zweig, J. M., & Yahner, J. (2014). Dating violence experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(5), 846–857.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Davis, N., & Schmidt, C. (2016). Cyberbullying and cyber abuse intervention: The three-tiered model for schools. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, 11(3–4), 366–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Deans, H., & Bhogal, M. S. (2017). Perpetrating cyber dating abuse: A brief report on the role of aggression, romantic jealousy and gender. Current Psychology, 1–6.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-017-9715-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 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
  18. Draucker, C. B., & Martsolf, D. S. (2010). The role of electronic communication technology in adolescent dating violence. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 23(3), 133–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Drouin, M., & Tobin, E. (2014). Unwanted but consensual sexting among young adults: Relations with attachment and sexual motivations. Computers in Human Behavior, 31, 412–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Drouin, M., Ross, J., & Tobin, E. (2015). Sexting: A new, digital vehicle for intimate partner aggression? Computers in Human Behavior, 50, 197–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Duran, R. L., Kelly, L., & Rotaru, T. (2011). Mobile phones in romantic relationships and the dialectic of autonomy versus connection. Communication Quarterly, 59(1), 19–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Elias-Lambert, N., & Black, B. (2012). Love is not abuse (LINA). Journal of Technology in Human Services, 30(1), 49.  https://doi.org/10.1080/15228835.2012.667675.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Elphinston, R. A., & Noller, P. (2011). Time to face it! Facebook intrusion and the implications for romantic jealousy and relationship satisfaction. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 14(11), 631–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Foshee, V. A., Bauman, K. E., Linder, F., Rice, J., & Wilcher, R. (2007). Typologies of adolescent dating violence: Identifying typologies of adolescent dating violence perpetration. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(5), 298–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 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
  26. Fritz, P. A. T., & Piitz, J. (2008). Partner aggression technology scale (PATS). Unpublished measurement instrument, Department of Psychology, University of Windsor, Windsor.Google Scholar
  27. Fritz, P. A. T., Clark-Crumpton, J., Daskaluk, S., & Wilson, L. (2018). Electronic partner aggression victimization: Its frequency and relation to offline partner aggression and psychological functioning. Partner Abuse, 9(4), 421–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gottman, J. M. (1994). What predicts divorce? The relationship between marital processes and marital outcomes. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. Kellerman, I., Margolin, G., Borofsky, L. A., Baucom, B. R., & Iturralde, E. (2013). Electronic aggression among emerging adults: Motivations and contextual factors. Emerging Adulthood, 1, 293–304.  https://doi.org/10.1177/2167696813490159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Korchmaros, J. D., Ybarra, M. L., Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Boyd, D., & Lenhart, A. (2013). Perpetration of teen dating violence in a networked society. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 16(8), 561–567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Leisring, P. A., & Giumetti, G. W. (2014). Sticks and stones may break my bones, but abusive text messages also hurt: Development and validation of the cyber psychological abuse (CPA) scale. Partner Abuse, 5(3), 323–334.  https://doi.org/10.1891/1946-6560.5.3.323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Marcum, C. D., Higgins, G. E., & Nicholson, J. (2017). I’m watching you: Cyberstalking behaviors of university students in romantic relationships. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 42(2), 373–388.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12103-016-9358-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Marganski, A., & Melander, L. (2018). Intimate partner violence victimization in the cyber and real world: Examining the extent of cyber aggression experiences and its association with in-person dating violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(7), 1071–1095.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. Morelli, M., Bianchi, D., Baiocco, R., Pezzuti, L., & Chirumbolo, A. (2016b). Not-allowed sharing of sexts and dating violence from the perpetrator's perspective: The moderation role of sexism. Computers in Human Behavior, 56, 163–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Morelli, M., Bianchi, D., Chirumbolo, A., & Baiocco, R. (2018). The cyber dating violence inventory. Validation of a new scale for online perpetration and victimization among dating partners. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 15(4), 464–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Morey, J. N., Gentzler, A. L., Creasy, B., Oberhauser, A. M., & Westerman, D. (2013). Young adults’ use of communication technology within their romantic relationships and associations with attachment style. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 1771–1778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. MTV-AP. (2009). 2009 AP-MTV digital abuse study. Retrieved from http://www.athinline.org/MTV-AP_Digital_Abuse_Study_Executive_Summary.pdf.
  42. Pereira, F., & Matos, M. (2016). Cyber-stalking victimization: What predicts fear among Portuguese adolescents? European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 22(2), 253–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. 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/
  47. Reed, L. A., Tolman, R. M., & Ward, L. M. (2016a). Snooping and sexting: Digital media as a context for dating aggression and abuse among college students. Violence Against Women, 22(13), 1556–1576.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801216630143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Reed, L. A., Tolman, R. M., Ward, L. M., & Safyer, P. (2016b). Keeping tabs: Attachment anxiety and electronic intrusion in high school dating relationships. Computers in Human Behavior, 58, 259–268.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Shorey, R. C., Cornelius, T. L., & Strauss, C. (2015). Stalking in college student dating relationships: A descriptive investigation. Journal of Family Violence, 30(7), 935–942.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Smith-Darden, J. P., Kernsmith, P. D., Victor, B. G., & Lathrop, R. A. (2017). Electronic displays of aggression in teen dating relationships: Does the social ecology matter? Computers in Human Behavior, 67, 33–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 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
  52. Spitzberg, B. H., Cupach, W. R., Hannawa, A. F., & Crowley, J. P. (2014). A preliminary test of a relational goal pursuit theory of obsessive relational intrusion and stalking. Studies in Communication Sciences, 14(1), 29–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 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
  54. Thompson, M. P., & Morrison, D. J. (2013). Prospective predictors of technology-based sexual coercion by college males. Psychology of Violence, 3(3), 233–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tokunaga, R. S., & Aune, K. S. (2017). Cyber-defense: A taxonomy of tactics for managing cyberstalking. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 32(10), 1451–1475.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260515589564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Toma, C. L., & Choi, M. (2015). The couple who Facebooks together, stays together: Facebook self-presentation and relationship longevity among college-aged dating couples. Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, 18(7), 367–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Utz, S., & Beukeboom, C. J. (2011). The role of social network sites in romantic relationships: Effects on jealousy and relationship happiness. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 16(4), 511–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Van Ouytsel, J., Ponnet, K., Walrave, M., & Temple, J. R. (2016a). Adolescent cyber dating abuse victimization and its associations with substance use, and sexual behaviors. Public Health, 135, 147–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Van Ouytsel, J., Walrave, M., Ponnet, K., & Temple, J. R. (2016b). Digital forms of dating violence: What school nurses need to know. NASN School Nurse, 31(6), 348–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 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.
  61. 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
  62. Walker, K., & Sleath, E. (2017). A systematic review of the current knowledge regarding revenge pornography and non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit media. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 36, 9–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Watkins, L. E., Maldonado, R. C., & DiLillo, D. (2018). The cyber aggression in relationships scale: A new multidimensional measure of technology-based intimate partner aggression. Assessment, 25(5), 608–626.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wekerle, C., & Wolfe, D. A. (1999). Dating violence in mid-adolescence: Theory, significance, and emerging prevention initiatives. Clinical Psychology Review, 19(4), 435–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. White, W. E., & Carmody, D. (2016). Preventing online victimization: College students’ views on intervention and prevention. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(14), 2291–2307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wolford-Clevenger, C., Zapor, H., Brasfield, H., Febres, J., Elmquist, J., Brem, M., … & Stuart, G. L. (2016). An examination of the partner cyber abuse questionnaire in a college student sample. Psychology of Violence, 6(1), 156–162.  https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wright, M. F. (2015). Cyber aggression within adolescents’ romantic relationships: Linkages to parental and partner attachment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(1), 37–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 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
  69. Zweig, J. M., Dank, M., Yahner, J., & Lachman, P. (2013b). The rate of cyber dating abuse among teens and how it relates to other forms of teen dating violence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 1063–1077.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zweig, J. M., Lachman, P., Yahner, J., & Dank, M. (2013c). Correlates of cyber dating abuse among teens. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(8), 1306–1321.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-0047-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Penny A. Leisring
    • 1
    Email author
  • Danielle M. Farrell
    • 2
  • Daniela M. Scotto
    • 3
  1. 1.Quinnipiac UniversityHamdenUSA
  2. 2.Yale University Child Study CenterNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Global Psychiatric Epidemiology GroupColumbia University – New York State Psychiatric InstituteNew YorkUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Glenna Tinney
    • 1
  • Shelly M. Wagers
    • 2
  • Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling
    • 3
  1. 1.ConsultantAlexandriaUSA
  2. 2.College of Arts and Sciences - Society, Culture, and LanguageUniversity of South Florida - St. PetersburgSt. PetersburgUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

Personalised recommendations