Studying the dynamics of abuse

May 27, 2004, vol. 30, no. 3
By Marianne Meadahl

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Katherine Regan's research charts new ground in the field of violence.

Not only was her honours thesis on assessing relationship violence measurement published in a prestigious journal, her master's thesis, completed in just four terms, is described as a first to conduct what supervisor Kim Bartholomew calls “a fine-grained analysis” of gender differences in the severity of acts of relationship violence.

Regan, who has earned the dean of graduate studies convocation medal in the faculty of arts, is now conducting doctoral research on how the framing of questions about relationship violence impacts on the levels of violence reported.

“Reported rates of partner violence vary considerably, depending on the nature of the survey used to collect data,” she surmises, theorizing that findings differ because of the way in which questions about violence are framed.

“I hope the results of my research will help resolve ongoing questions in the domestic violence field about rates of violence and gender differences in these rates,” she adds. “I hope this will assist policymakers with decisions regarding family violence interventions.”

Once she's completed her doctoral studies, Regan will further explore the dynamics of abuse in intimate relationships with the goal of developing interventions.

Noted for her strong research skills, Regan's work is highly praised by colleagues in the psychology department. Her master's thesis has also been submitted for publication to Psychological Assessment, a journal in the field of psychological measurement.

Regan's daughter Breannae, who will be three in August, serves as a constant reminder that “there is more to life than just graduate school.” Breannae attends the SFU childcare centre while mom is at school, prompting Regan to become involved on the executive and board of the childcare society.

“I couldn't do this without great support,” she says of husband Keith.

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