Cyber Abuse in Romantic Relationships

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


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.


Cyber abuse Cyber aggression Electronic aggression Intimate partner violence Partner abuse 


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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

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