Exploring perceptions of violence and factors that impact help-seeking
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a serious problem that has impacted the lives of many individuals in a variety of ways. While we have a general definition of abuse, the behaviors that constitute abuse vary from person to person and it can be presumed that gender and gender stereotypes may influence perceptions of what abuse. For this reason, the current study examined the way that men and women perceive abuse. Additionally, help-seeking behaviors for survivors of IPV have been found to be impacted by various factors, and can be a difficult step for victims to make. Therefore, the present study also analyzed how various factors such as shame and guilt, gender, and gender stereotypes impact help-seeking behaviors in victims of IPV. While gender was not a significant predictor of how individuals perceive abuse or of their help-seeking behaviors, gender stereotypes were found to be a significant predictor of perceptions of abuse and help-seeking behaviors. Further, gender stereotypes, and shame and guilt predicted help-seeking behaviors for individuals in same-sex and different sex relationships. Results from this study will be valuable for mental health professionals to consider when working with IPV survivors. Implications of the findings for mental health professions will be explored and suggestions for practice will be discussed.