Cyber abuse among men arrested for domestic violence: Cyber monitoring moderates the relationship between alcohol problems and intimate partner violence

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© 2017 American Psychological Association. We provide the first investigation of the prevalence and frequency of cyber abuse among men arrested for domestic violence (DV). We also offer the first conceptualization of cyber monitoring, a facet of cyber abuse, within the impellance, instigation, and inhibition theory of intimate partner violence (IPV). That is, the risk of IPV perpetration may be higher for men with alcohol problems who also frequently access emotionally salient instigatory cues, namely, information gleaned from cyber monitoring. Thus, we hypothesized that alcohol problems would positively relate to IPV perpetration among men who engaged in high, but not low, levels of cyber monitoring. Method: Using a cross-sectional sample of 216 men arrested for DV and court-referred to batterer intervention programs (BIPs), we explored the prevalence and frequency of cyber abuse perpetration and victimization. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses tested the interaction between cyber monitoring and alcohol problems predicting IPV perpetration (psychological aggression and physical assault). Results: Eighty-one percent of men endorsed perpetrating at least 1 act of cyber abuse in the year prior to entering BIPs. Alcohol problems and both psychological and physical IPV perpetration positively related at high, but not low, levels of cyber monitoring. Conclusion: Clinicians should assess for cyber abuse and alcohol use among DV offenders. Amendments to legal statutes for DV offenders should consider incorporating common uses of technology into legal definitions of stalking and harassment. Social media campaigns and BIPs should increase individuals' awareness of the criminal charges that may result from some forms of cyber abuse and monitoring.