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NCJ Number: 221813 Find in a Library
Title: Theoretical Understanding of Abusive Intimate Partner Relationships That Become Non-violent: Shifting the Pattern of Abusive Control
Journal: Journal of Family Violence  Volume:23  Issue:4  Dated:May 2008  Pages:281-293
Author(s): Judith Wuest; Marilyn Merritt-Gray
Date Published: May 2008
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Ottawa, ON, K1A 0W9, Canada
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1P 6G4, Canada
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The purpose of this study was to expand understanding of the process of achieving nonviolence in previously abusive intimate partner relationships through the constructing of a substantive theory (shifting the pattern of abusive control).
Abstract: The substantive theory reported in this study offers some new understandings about the possible course of violent intimate partner relationships. Specifically, the findings show how some relationships become nonviolent and couples begin living differently. The key to whether it is possible for a couple to live differently hinges on the abusive partner’s response to a woman’s efforts to establish personal autonomy and take control. The findings suggest that the processes counteracting abuse and taking control are very similar to actions taken by women who leave their abusive partners. The difference is that partners in this study did not respond by escalating their abuse; rather they backed off, did not interfere, ceased their physical abuse, and in some cases began to invest in the relationship. For some women, coexisting in a violence-free relationship was satisfactory; for others, investing in an improved intimate partner relationship was essential for sustaining living differently. This theory provides direction for women who are working toward living differently with partners who are no longer violent, and for their helpers. These findings contribute to the theoretical understanding of how abusive couple relationships may evolve over time. Theoretical understanding of abusive intimate partner relationships has ignored relationships that have become nonviolent. This study consisted of interviews with a sample of 27 women whose relationships had become nonviolent. Using the constant comparative analysis of grounded theory, the study generated a substantive theory, shifting the pattern of abusive control with three sub-processes: counteracting abuse, taking control, and living differently. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Domestic assault
Index Term(s): Abused women; Battered wives; Behavior modification; Behavior patterns; Domestic relations; Interpersonal relations; Theory
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