Domestic Violence and Sociology: Definition & Effects

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  • 0:00 What Is Domestic Violence?
  • 1:14 Effects of Domestic Violence
  • 3:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chevette Alston

Dr. Alston has taught intro psychology, child psychology, and developmental psychology at 2-year and 4-year schools.

This lesson defines domestic violence and gives examples of what domestic abuse can be. The effects of domestic violence for adults, children, adolescents, and families are also discussed.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Imagine living in a home where you are in constant fear of being physically injured, emotionally manipulated, or verbally assaulted. Domestic violence is defined by the National Domestic Violence Hotline as a forced 'pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an individual.' This behavior is considered abusive because it is unwanted and often unwarranted by the person who is being abused. Such abuse can come in the form of physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychologically damaging actions that negatively influence another person. This includes any behaviors that are meant to threaten, intimidate, frighten, manipulate, harm, humiliate, or falsely accuse.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, or gender. Socioeconomic status and education attainment are not barriers to domestic violence. It is most often associated with adults, especially those who are married or partnered. However, it can occur between adults and children as well.

Effects of Domestic Violence

Family members who are abused often suffer from a variety of physical and mental problems. It is believed that physical violence occurs more often than rape, auto accidents, or robberies. Those who are abused are often hypervigilant, or extremely alert and easily startled because they live in continual fear and isolation. Suffering repeated physical injuries can cause medical difficulties as the abused person ages. Furthermore, the emotional and psychological effects of such abuse sometimes have more of a negative effect than the effects of physical abuse. Children and adolescents who witness on-going domestic abuse are more likely to use violence for problems solving as adults.

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