Date of Graduation

Summer 2014


Master of Science in Applied Anthropology


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Margaret Buckner


Domestic violence impacts the lives of millions of Americans each year. Although theories on the causes of domestic violence abound, little is known about the context in which domestic violence occurs. As a result, our understanding of the factors which increase the risk of domestic violence is limited. For this study, ethnographic methods such as participant observation, interviews, and life histories were used to investigate the role that both partners play in abusive relationships, as well as the cultural factors which permit domestic violence. The results of this study indicate that both men and women perpetrate domestic violence and that the threat of domestic violence increases when threats to the relationship, such as mate value discrepancies, increased independence, and potential rival mates, occur. Findings also suggest that our culture permits domestic violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution and encourages victim stereotypes. Understanding the dynamics of domestic violence, including the context in which it occurs, will allow us to effectively help victims and maximize prevention efforts.


domestic violence, culture, relationship, conflict, violence

Subject Categories



© Clarissa Marie Martin

Campus Only