I have organized a special session for the American Sociological Association meetings next August titled, “Hard Times, Gender, and Families,” featuring the research of S. Philip Morgan, Margaret Michele Gough, Krista Perreira and Kristen Harknett. This is blurb for the session:
The Great Recession altered the gender dynamics within families in ways we are only beginning to understand. Some trends were accelerated for reasons that are not positive, while others may have been slowed or even reversed. This subject is vexing for researchers because it involves adjudicating between the effects of underlying conditions, long-term trends, and short-term shocks. In the past several years we have seen new research on how labor market conditions affect family violence, the gender division of labor, and fertility decisions. However, we have as yet no overarching theory of how this recession – or economic shocks in general – helped shape gender within families. In this session a panel of researchers who have done empirical work in this area broaden their focus to address this general question.
I hope to see you there (San Francisco, August 16-19).
Violence will be just part of that discussion, but that’s the subject of today’s update. I’ve gone back and forth a little on this question of the recession and violence as I come across different information:
- 2009: Recession begets family violence (“Evidence of the recession’s effect on family violence is piling up.”
- 2010: Child abuse in the recession (“…growing evidence of increasing family violence during the recession.”
- 2011: Has the recession increased family violence? (“I recommend skepticism about broad conclusions on overall trends.”)
In that last post I was skeptical the recession increased violence because of falling violence numbers for 2010, which seemed wrong for the recession story, including this trend in intimate-partner homicide from New York State:
Now that we have another year of national data on intimate partner violence, I’m leaning back toward the recession-increased-violence story. Look at 2008 and 2009 in this trend:
Writing in 2011 I couldn’t believe that 2010 would already be showing declines from any recession-induced spike in violence. And unemployment rates actually peaked in 2010, so that’s reasonable. But 2008 and 2009 were the years with the greatest increases in men’s unemployment rates, and the big jump in the sex difference in unemployment rates:
So if intimate partner violence is partly triggered by men’s economic hardship and insecurity — with some gender-difference dynamic (say, within couples) — the sex difference might make sense. Just a thought. No conclusion yet, but since I’ve been posting on the subject I thought an update was in order. Maybe by next August will know more.