This article encourages the widespread adoption of an integrated, ecological framework for understanding the origins of gender-based violence. An ecological approach to abuse conceptualizes violence as a multifaceted phenomenon grounded in an interplay among personal, situational, and sociocultural factors. Although drawing on the conceptual advances of earlier theorists, this article goes beyond their work in three significant ways. First, it uses the ecological framework as a heuristic tool to organize the existing research base into an intelligible whole. Whereas other theorists present the framework as a way to think about violence, few have attempted to establish what factors emerge as predictive of abuse at each level of the social ecology. Second, this article integrates results from international and cross-cultural research together with findings from North American social science. And finally, the framework draws from findings related to all types of physical and sexual abuse of women to encourage a more integrated approach to theory building regarding gender-based abuse.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science