Monday, May 9, 2022

Intimate partner violence is more common among couples where the woman earns more or is more educated than the man, and this is a rather finding universal across European Union countries

Status mismatch and self-reported intimate partner violence in the European Union: does the country’s context matter? Lynn van Vugt, Ioana Andreea. European Societies, May 6 2022.

Abstract: We explore whether status mismatch in education or income within couples is associated with self-reported intimate partner violence (IPV) and whether a country’s context relates to this. We used data collected by the ‘FRA Violence Against Women Survey’ in 2012, and we identified three dimensions of self-reported IPV: IPV via controlling behaviour, psychological IPV, and physical IPV. Based on logistic multilevel estimates of approximately 21,000 women in 27 European countries, we found that women, who were higher educated or earned more than their partners, were more likely to report all three types of IPV. We tested the impact of the societal context by looking at gender ideology, crime rates and the acceptance of domestic violence within a country. Our results suggest that only the level of crime directly impacts IPV, albeit only through controlling behaviour and psychological forms. Furthermore, none of the contextual characteristics moderate the relationship between status mismatch and IPV. Therefore, at least in our sample of European countries, the individual-level factors seem to weigh more than the societal context.

Keywords: Intimate partner violence against womenstatus mismatchcontextual factorsEuropean Union

Conclusion and discussion

In this study, we set out individual and contextual factors that relate to the levels of IPV in the EU. We used a novel dataset that collected information on self-reported IPV among women living in 27 EU countries. We identified three dimensions of IPV, i.e. IPV via controlling behaviour, psychological IPV and physical IPV. Based on logistic multilevel models, the following main conclusions were drawn.

First, we found that the relative resource theory was supported and that status mismatch does matter in explaining IPV. Women with a higher education level than their male partners were more likely to report IPV via controlling behaviour, psychological IPV and physical IPV than women who had the same or a lower education level than their male partners. The same holds for women who earned more than their male partners. Our findings were robust, and the corresponding effect sizes were moderate and slightly stronger for the educational mismatch than for the income mismatch. These results are in line with previous research from various countries (Atkinson et al. 2005; Weitzman 2014; Zhang and Breunig 2021), but add value by showing both the educational mismatch and income mismatch are relevant predictors, independent of each other. However, after including crime rates in the model, the relationship between income mismatch became not significant in relation to all three types of IPV, and education mismatch became insignificant in relation to self-reported psychological and physical IPV. Therefore, our results suggest that in countries with a stronger culture of violence, the relationship between status mismatch within the couple and IPV is suppressed.

Next, we showed that contextual factors matter in explaining self-reported IPV, although this is limited. Against our expectations, we found that in countries with higher crime rates, women were less likely to report IPV via controlling behaviour and psychological IPV than women living in countries with lower crime levels. We could think of different reasons: Firstly, a reason could be that for women living in countries with higher crime rates, violence is a legitimized way to manage social interaction within the family (McGloin et al. 2011; Ousey and Wilcox 2005). Women living in these countries could be more desensitized to violence because it occurs with a greater frequency in their daily lives and, therefore, will not interpret the controlling behaviour or psychological IPV from their partner as an experience of IPV. Secondly, another underlying mechanism for this could be for women in highly violent countries less acceptable to talk with other people about IPV, including the interviewer (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights [FRA] 2015). Thirdly, the measurement of crime rates itself could explain this finding. Previous research has shown that crime reporting differs across EU countries (Torrente et al. 2017), which could mean that the official statistics do not correctly reflect the level of crime within a country or the differences between the countries. With the data at hand, it is not possible to disentangle which of these arguments are behind our findings.

A more methodological conclusion regards the questions covering different aspects of IPV that were asked in the FRA survey. We found that not all items included in the questionnaire were meaningful in all countries, i.e. some questions referred to incidents that are so rare that in some countries, no variation in answers was recorded. Furthermore, after the equivalence tests were conducted, the final list of items that composed the three scales of IPV was limited compared to the initial list of items. This is not necessarily bad news, as it implies that it is possible to measure these dimensions of IPV with a limited number of questions. Additionally, we were able to establish that the three IPV scales exhibit cross-country equivalence, i.e. partial scalar invariance for psychological IPV and metric invariance for the other two. This is again good news, as it implies that these scales can be used within the set-up of regression analysis and will yield unbiased coefficients. We note, however, that the prevalence of cases of IPV was low, and this has implications for studies that more specifically want to identify and study its victims more in detail. This is also why we did not attempt to understand the intensity of IPV but focused on its prevalence.

This study has many limitations. First, self-reported violence had to be used, and the extent to which the reported IPV matches the actual experienced IPV is unknown (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights [FRA] 2015). However, even if we would have at our disposal statistics of reported IPV, one can argue that these figures are biased because many victims will not go to the police and file a complaint. This could be especially true for IPV via controlling behaviour and psychological IPV. Next, due to the low occurrence of IPV in the sample, we decided to examine IPV in the current relationship, without setting a time frame, for example, IPV occurring within the previous 12 months. Therefore, it could be possible that the education level of the woman was lower when the abuse occurred, but that the women had become more highly educated in the meanwhile (the same reasoning could follow for earnings). Furthermore, the IPV occurrence and the gravity of IPV manifestation could have common but also different precedents. Future research is warranted along these lines. In addition, future research should also examine the different relationships in which IPV occurs. In this investigation, heterosexual couples were investigated, and the questions regard situations in which the man abuses the woman. However, it is also recognized that bidirectional IPV exists or that women abuse their male partners (Dokkedahl and Elklit 2019) and IPV can also occur in lesbian and gay partnerships (e.g. see review: Rollè et al. 2018).

Our findings suggest that individual-level characteristics seem to be better predictors of IPV than the country’s context. However, we should consider that this could be related to the country sample in our analyses, i.e. European countries where IPV is largely not supported by the (formal or informal) institutions and with limited variation in the measures that we use to capture country-level characteristics. Possibly with a different country sample that includes societies where gender equality or the acceptance of domestic violence variables have more extreme values compared to the European countries, or using country-level averages and including the heterogeneity around those means (Ivert et al. 2020), our findings could be challenged.

The implications of our findings for the European level policy build on the conclusions regarding the importance that the individual-level factors, i.e. the education and income mismatch, still have for IPV. We propose that a substantial contribution to further decrease in IPV in Europe can be made in two ways: first by normalizing families where the women have higher income or education in the couple, and second by discouraging the use of violence as a legitimate way to manage social interaction within the family. How this can be achieved, is a question that we leave to behavioural change theorists and practitioners, as they could provide the understandings and the tools to support policy-makers in designing effective, focused interventions to achieve these goals.

Liberals drink more different brands of beer than conservatives

Political Ideology and Consumption. Rashmi Adaval and Robert S. Wyer Jr. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, May 2022.

Abstract: The influence of political ideology on individuals’ behavior and their endorsement of social policies is pervasive and its impact on their economic and social well-being is incontrovertible. The influence of political ideology is evident not only in how recent social events have been interpreted (e.g., the storming of the Capitol on January 6, the murder of George Floyd, etc.) but also in people’s everyday nonpolitical behavior (e.g., their choice and purchases of consumer goods and other consumption-related activity). The research reported in this special issue documents the effects of political ideology on reactions to variousconsumption-related experiences. Although no single theory of political ideology can easily account for the diversity of the phenomena reported in this special issue, an understanding of the different perspectives from which political ideology has been studied is helpful to understand these effects.

Much of the research on political ideology identifies people with different beliefs along on a liberalism-conservatism dimension. Although these end points are closely aligned with Democratic and Republican political parties, party identity is not always consistent with people’s beliefs on specific issues (Huddy, Mason and Aaroe 2015; Wyer et al. 1991). Yet, the current disposition of federal legislators to vote along party lines and the polarized attitudes of those who belong to these parties suggest that the schism emerges partly from deep-seated differences in ideological beliefs and thinking styles. Differences in conservative-liberal beliefs have been attributed to personality, evolution and genetics, all of which presumably affect the cognitive and physiological reactions of individuals to a variety of issues. In the following section, we provide a background of research that has been conducted from different perspectives. We then review the research reported in this volume in relation to these perspectives.

Individual differences in self-control markedly depended on genetic influence, which increased substantially in young adulthood

Genetics, Parenting, and Family Functioning – What Drives the Development of Self-Control from Adolescence to Adulthood? Ida M. Mueller,Frank M. Spinath,Malte Friese,Elisabeth Hahn. Journal of Personality, May 6 2022.


Objective: Self-control is a meaningful predictor of crucial life outcomes. Knowingly, genes contribute substantially to differences in self-control, but behavioral genetic findings are often misinterpreted regarding environmental influences. Therefore, we reinvestigate the heritability of self-control as well as potential environmental influences, namely parenting and a chaotic home environment.

Method: We used cross-sectional and longitudinal data from the German twin family study TwinLife (N = 3,354 individuals), structured in a multicohort design in which 13-, 19-, and 25-year-old twins rated their self-control, parents’ behavior, and home environment.

Results: Results showed increasing mean levels and 1-year stabilities for self-control accompanied by substantial genetic influences, increasing particularly from ages 19 to 25 (53% to 76%). While chaotic home environments and negative parenting were phenotypically associated with lower self-control, twin difference models revealed that differences in these individually perceived “environments” directly predicted self-control differences (β = -.16 to -.28) within families when controlling for genetic and environmental similarities.

Conclusions: In addition to the genetic anchoring of self-control, results indicate that environmental factors such as negative family environments are meaningful and depend on individual perceptions within families. Interventions for enhancing self-control should therefore rely on individual perspectives rather than objective characteristics of home environments.

Induced state mindfulness reduced state guilt and weakened the link between a transgression and reparative behavior; loving kindness meditation led to significantly more prosocial reparation than focused-breathing meditation

Mindfulness meditation reduces guilt and prosocial reparation. Andrew C Hafenbrack, Matthew L LaPalme, Isabelle Solal. J Pers Soc Psychol, Dec 23 2021. doi: 10.1037/pspa0000298

Abstract: The present research investigates whether and how mindfulness meditation influences the guilt-driven tendency to repair harm caused to others. Through a series of eight experiments (N > 1,400), we demonstrate that state mindfulness cultivated via focused-breathing meditation can dampen the relationship between transgressions and the desire to engage in reparative prosocial behaviors. Experiment 1 showed that induced state mindfulness reduced state guilt. Experiments 2a-2c found that induced state mindfulness reduced the willingness to engage in reparative behaviors in normally guilt-inducing situations. Experiments 3a and 3b found that guilt mediated the negative effect of mindfulness meditation on prosocial reparation. Experiment 4 demonstrated that induced state mindfulness weakened the link between a transgression and reparative behavior, as well as documented the mediating role of guilt over and above other emotions. Finally, in Experiment 5, we found that loving kindness meditation led to significantly more prosocial reparation than focused-breathing meditation, mediated by increased other-focus and feelings of love. We discuss theoretical and practical implications. 

Supplemental Security Income: SSI removal increases the number of criminal charges by a statistically significant 20% over the next two decade; costs of enforcement/prison nearly eliminate savings

Does Welfare Prevent Crime? The Criminal Justice Outcomes of Youth Removed From SSI. Manasi Deshpande & Michael G. Mueller-Smith. NBER Working Paper 29800, Feb 2022. DOI 10.3386/w29800

We estimate the effect of losing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits at age 18 on criminal justice and employment outcomes over the next two decades. To estimate this effect, we use a regression discontinuity design in the likelihood of being reviewed for SSI eligibility at age 18 created by the 1996 welfare reform law. We evaluate this natural experiment with Social Security Administration data linked to records from the Criminal Justice Administrative Records System. We find that SSI removal increases the number of criminal charges by a statistically significant 20% over the next two decades. The increase in charges is concentrated in offenses for which income generation is a primary motivation (60% increase), especially theft, burglary, fraud/forgery, and prostitution. The effect of SSI removal on criminal justice involvement persists more than two decades later, even as the effect of removal on contemporaneous SSI receipt diminishes. In response to SSI removal, youth are twice as likely to be charged with an illicit income-generating offense than they are to maintain steady employment at $15,000/year in the labor market. As a result of these charges, the annual likelihood of incarceration increases by a statistically significant 60% in the two decades following SSI removal. The costs to taxpayers of enforcement and incarceration from SSI removal are so high that they nearly eliminate the savings to taxpayers from reduced SSI benefits.