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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1998. Department of Sociology.


Copyright 1998, the author. Used by permission.


This paper is a test of imitation theory’s ability to explain domestic violence. Imitation theory is outlined and suggested as a possible explanation for domestic violence. The link between viewing violent sports and spectator violence is also discussed. This research examined the effects of exposure to violent football games on incidence rates for domestic violence. Data from the Lincoln Family Violence Council of Lincoln, Nebraska, are used. Limited support for imitation effects on domestic violence incidence is shown by this research. Incidents of domestic violence are more frequent than would be expected on an average day when seasonal fluctuations are controlled. Temporal and physical proximity to the game were found to have a significant positive relationship with incidence of domestic violence. Publicity given to events was not found to be a significant predictor of domestic violence incidence. This model was a good predictor of traditional domestic violence incidents in which the male was the offender and the female was the victim. The effects of imitation were tested for subgroups of female perpetrators, male victims, age, and race. No clear patterns could be discerned from the results, however. This research extends our understanding of the causes of domestic violence by indicating some of the conditions under which an arguably violent sport like football plays a role in the imitation process. Implications of findings are discussed, and some suggestions are made for further research.

Advisors: Hugh Whitt and Jay Corzine