Date of Award

Winter 2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology/Criminal Justice

Committee Director

Garland White

Committee Member

Mona J. E. Danner

Committee Member

Dianne Carmody

Committee Member

Barbara Winstead

Abstract

Intimate partner violence is a very serious issue in the United States. In spite of improvements, there is still much work to be done. Policies focusing on formal controls such as arrest, orders of protection, and prosecution have questionable potential. However, collective efficacy and the examination of community context have much to offer the field of intimate partner violence. Collective efficacy, comprised of social cohesion, social capital, and informal social control, may be more effective in reducing intimate partner violence than use of traditional formal social controls alone. These community context variables may also be of great assistance in improving the effectiveness of social support.

This research study examines intimate partner violence at the community level. Specifically, community context in terms of collective efficacy is studied. Using data from the Chicago Women's Health Risk Study and the Longitudinal Evaluation of Chicago's Community Policing Program, the research uses several indicators of collective efficacy to determine if collective efficacy in conjunction with formal controls is associated with greater success in the reduction of intimate partner violence than formal controls alone. Next, the interaction between formal controls and informal social support networks is examined to determine if greater informal social support networks leads to greater effectiveness of formal controls. Finally, the interaction between social support and collective efficacy is examined to determine if greater collective efficacy leads to greater effectiveness of social support.

It is hypothesized that collective efficacy with formal controls will be more valuable in reducing intimate partner violence than use of formal controls alone. It is also hypothesized that support networks with formal controls will be more efficacious in reducing intimate partner violence than formal controls alone. Finally, it is hypothesized that collective efficacy will increase the success of social support in reducing intimate partner violence.

The results of the research indicate that increased collective efficacy and social support are not associated with decreases in reported frequency or severity of intimate partner violence. Implications of the results are discussed concerning collective efficacy in general, and for intimate partner violence. The goal is to develop better policy.

DOI

10.25777/3crb-9c66

ISBN

9781267112484

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