Lifestyle News | COVID-19 pandemic has increased aggression among couples, study finds
Washington [US], Aug. 22 (ANI): In a recent experimental study, researchers at Georgia State University found that lockdown restrictions driven by the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in increased rates of physical assault and psychological among couples.
The results of the study were published in the journal “Psychology of Violence”.
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The study found that the pandemic had resulted in a six- to eight-fold increase in rates of intimate partner assault in the United States.
Physical assault went from two acts per year before the pandemic to 15 acts per year once shelter-in-place restrictions began.
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Psychological aggression has gone from 16 acts per year to 96 acts per year.
The results indicated that pandemic stress was strongly associated with the perpetration of intimate partner assault, even among those considered to be at low risk.
“If you think about it, this [increase] represents a huge change in people’s daily lives, ”said study lead author Dominic Parrott, professor of psychology and director of the Center for Interpersonal Violence Research.
“It’s the difference between having a bad fight with your partner once a month versus twice a week,” Parrott added.
The study is among the first to document the increase in the perpetration of intimate partner assaults after the onset of the pandemic in local communities.
Researchers recruited 510 participants in April 2020 – at the height of shelter-in-place restrictions across the United States – and asked them about the time before and after COVID-19 started in their community.
Participants answered questions about stressors related to COVID-19, the commission of physical and psychological assault on their partner, and heavy drinking, known to facilitate the assault.
About half of the participants identified as a sexual or gender minority. “People were suddenly under tremendous stress, and we were relatively sure it increased aggression and violence,” Parrott said.
“There is data showing that after natural disasters, for example, when basic resources are lost and people have to live nearby, intimate partner violence increases. Our fundamental aim was to document what was happening in the aftermath of the pandemic, ”Parrot explained.
While rates of intimate partner aggression have remained high among heavy drinkers, it is non-heavy drinkers who have been most affected by COVID-related stress.
In fact, the association between physical assault after the onset of the pandemic and stress from COVID-19 was only apparent in people who consumed fewer drinks per day.
“People who are not heavy drinkers may be able to prevent stress from affecting their relationships under normal circumstances, but we hypothesized that the extreme events of the pandemic could change that. This is how the data turned out, ”Parrott said. “Pandemic stress didn’t really tip the scales in favor of heavy drinker violence, but for non-heavy drinkers all the bets were off,” Parrott added.
These results suggest that it is essential to focus on the acute and chronic stress of couples, regardless of their average alcohol consumption. childcare and health care – can, in turn, reduce stress and the perpetration of intimate partner assault.
In addition, the broad implementation of public health policies aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus can also mitigate physical and psychological attacks.
“Most people wouldn’t think of intimate partner violence as a reason for offering an economic relief program, but our data suggests that it could be an effective measure,” Parrott said.
“The data also suggests that typical high-risk groups are not the only ones at risk of committing acts of violence in this type of crisis environment,” Parrott continued.
“The stress of the pandemic is so deep and pervasive that you need interventions or policies that hit large swathes of the population,” Parrott concluded.
At the individual level, the authors suggest that as-needed text messaging interventions can be particularly useful during pandemics when social distancing is needed.
Known as stand-alone just-in-time interventions, they are increasingly feasible and require fewer resources, making them scalable for people who might not otherwise receive traditional treatment in person.
The co-authors of the study are Cynthia Stappenbeck, associate professor of psychology; Miklos Halmos, doctoral student in community psychology; and Kevin Moino, doctoral student in clinical psychology. (ANI)
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