An Empirical Test of IAT: Examining the Predictors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assaults Against Women

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Messner and Rosenfeld’s Institutional Anomie Theory (IAT) holds that higher imbalances of societal institutions lead to higher rates of crimes and that the type of imbalance influences the type of crime the country experiences. Although research has generally found moderate empirical support for the relationship between economic indicators and rates of violence, other imbalances involving other institutions, such as the family, school, and government, have largely been ignored in the literature. In this presentation, we measure institutional imbalance utilizing indicators on a wide range of institutions and examine its effect on the rates of both domestic violence and sexual assault against women using multiple international data sets. We conclude by discussing both the implications of our findings on how to better operationalize imbalance in IAT as well as the need for further IAT testing on the predictors of violence against women.


Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting (ACJS)


Kansas City, MO