An analysis of jailhouse phone calls between men charged with felony domestic violence and their victims allowed researchers for the first time to see exactly what triggered episodes of violent abuse.
The findings showed that violence often immediately followed accusations of sexual infidelity made by one or both of the partners. Drug or alcohol use was often involved.
Researchers have long known that sexual jealousy played a general role in abuse, but this is the first time it was shown that it was a specific form of jealousy — infidelity concerns — that tended to initiate the violence, said Julianna Nemeth, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in public health at Ohio State University.
"What we were looking for was the immediate precursor — what was the one thing that happened right before the violence that was the catalyst," Nemeth said.
"I have worked in domestic violence intervention for many years, but still the findings shocked me. We never knew that it was the accusation of infidelity that tended to trigger the violence."
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