Dionne Stephens, PhD

Current position: Associate Professor of Psychology, Florida International University


GHES U.S. Fellow 2014-2015

Fellowship Site: Public Health Research Institute of India, Mysore.
U.S. Institution: Florida International University

Project Title: Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and Young adults in India: Identifying behavioral, normative, and control beliefs about IPV

Dr. Dionne Stephens is currently an associate professor at Florida International University.

Reported rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization against Indian women range between 40% and 83% (see Kumar et al., 2005; Vizcarra et al. 2004). Defined as physical, psychological, and/or emotional abuse or assault that takes place in private or social situations (Teten et al., 2009), IPV has long term social, economic, and negative health outcome implications for both the victim and perpetrator (Chibber, & Krishnan, 2011; Naved, Azim, Bhuiya, & Persson, 2006; Teten et al., 2009). Cultural, social, and environmental factors have been identified as key contributors to women’s victimization and men’s perpetration of IPV. For example, reports of personal exposure to violence (i.e., familial, community, and systemic transmissions of violence), increase Indian women’s victimization risk for violence in their dating relationships (Bangdiwala et al. 2004; Varma, Chandra, Thomas, & Carey, 2007). Certain community contexts also allow for, and in some cases, validate males that perpetrate violence against partners (Naved, Azim, Bhuiya, & Persson, 2006; Stephens, Patil & Thomas, 2012). It is important to explore the IPV beliefs young adult males and females in India because of (a) the high rates of IPV victimization, (b) normalization of IPV in certain contexts, and (b) the fact that the positive and negative dating relationship patterns practiced at this stage of the lifespan often serve to establish their relationship trajectories. Her study sought to identify the behavioral beliefs, normative beliefs, and control beliefs that Indian young adult men have about perpetrating IPV and that Indian young adult women have about how to resist IPV.