Exchange/Social Control Theory on Family Violence
The Exchange Theory of Family Violence is one that has been found to have a lot of merit in studying family structure and the reasons for family violence. This theory states that people enter into relationships that are of direct benefit to the individual and when that benefit is no longer viable the relationship ends. The exchange theory can be applied many forms of family issues like how a partner is chosen, sexual bargaining, the quality of a marriage and who holds the power in the marriage and the level of family violence (Gelles, 1983) .
Violence and abuse are used when the rewards (power, control, domination, etc) out weigh the cost (arrest, confinement or the complete loss of the family to that person. If the behavior is an accepted part of cultures or ethnic groups that are poor and uneducated. Violence in society is related to many aspects of life: family background, social class, age, race, economic stress and education levels. Violent images in the media has begun to numb people to the reality of the abuses today. Behaviors learned young or witnessed repeatedly are often repeated in the adult life and so the cycle continues. Another contributing factor to family violence is the reluctance of institution like schools, employers and churches to become involved. Many times the violence and abuse is just ignored or treated as a normal part of life.
Families are very complicated and there are so many variables that there are just no easy answers. The Exchange Theory has a ring of truth that can not be denied. Perpetrator of violence and abuse would not continue the behavior if there was no reward or satisfaction from the actions. The rewards are as diverse as are the individuals who are committing the abuse.
Violence in the family is not a new phenomenon. It is found throughout history (Gelles, 1987, 1997). "People are more likely killed,...