Perceptions of Same-Gender and Different-Gender Intimate Partner Cyber-Monitoring

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There is a paucity of research comparing perceptions of technology-facilitated partner monitoring or stalking between same-gender and different-gender relationships. As such, a randomized vignette study was conducted with 738 undergraduate students at a large Midwestern university, who read one of four stories of intimate partner cyber-monitoring (IPCM): same-gender IPCM with physical violence, same-gender IPCM without physical violence, different-gender IPCM with physical violence, and different-gender IPCM without physical violence. Results show that participants were significantly less likely to recommend the survivor break up with the abuser if the story described a same-gender relationship. If the story involved IPCM alone rather than also physical violence, participants were significantly less likely to label the abuse as “domestic violence,” more likely to recommend doing nothing, and less likely to recommend most of the assessed protective actions—including being less likely to recommend asking the survivor to break up with the abuser, seeking help from friends and family, calling a domestic violence hotline, or calling the police. Results also indicate that IPCM is largely perceived to be less serious and less deserving of survivor support than physical intimate partner violence (IPV), for both same-gender and different-gender relationships. Implications for prevention education programming as well as research are discussed.


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Journal of Interpersonal Violence