Domestic violence is a serious problem, but there is no solid theoretical explanation for its cause. It affects people of all cultures, socioeconomic and educational backgrounds. It is not specifically known how many victims exist because it is not always reported. It is important to know why this cycle of violence exists, so perpetrators can get help and new abusers do not learn this behavior during childhood. In an effort to understand the root causes of this social problem, this study will apply social learning theory to create a learning model for domestic abuse. Social learning theory suggests that the “principle part of the learning of criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups” (Akers & Sellers, 2009, p. 86). The home is the initial training ground and gives signals of what is considered ‘normal and acceptable’ behavior. This study will evaluate predictors of aggression in the home to determine whether this is a learned behavior and if this lesson will be passed on to children within the home.
In the article, “Social Learning Theory and Partner Violence: A Research Note”, the authors demonstrate how current explanations for partner violence can be incorporated with Aker’s social learning theory to generate viable indicators of partner violence within relationships. Male peer support theory and intergenerational transmission theory were used in conjunction with social learning theory to provide a comprehensive view of how and why abuse is condoned and rewarded in intimate relationships. The researchers simply began the conversation by finding a sociological solution to why this phenomenon occurs. The results of their research found that social learning theory was more than an adequate platform to explain intimate partner violence. It is more likely than not that association with abusive friends or loved ones will make an individual more prone to engage in violent behavior within their own relationship.
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