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Desistance from intimate partner violence: a narrative study of men with histories of violence against their female partner

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posted on 02.03.2017, 04:24 by Clavijo, Carlos
The purpose of this research was to gain insight into the men‟s process of desistance from intimate partner violence (IPV). Using thematic narrative analysis, the life stories of men who desist from IPV, who attended specialized intervention programs, were examined and compared with the life stories of men who do not desist from IPV, and who were attending similar programs. The analysis shows how men who desist from IPV construct a personal identity of men who have changed in terms of their relational purposes in life, responsibility for their behaviour and its impact on their affective relationships, gender positioning, communication skills, and ability to self-monitor and self-regulate their own emotional states. Desisting men stressed both their agency and the significance of receiving respectful expert assistance in achieving this change, and the need for ongoing effort in maintaining change in communication skills and emotional self-regulation after program completion. In contrast, men who do not desist from IPV construct an identity of men who have not changed in the terms indicated by men who desist, and remain centred on their own individual needs, as they were before getting involved in the intervention program. Analysis also shows that desistance from IPV is a process unfolded over time, requiring external expert assistance to boost men‟s motivation to change. The change process involves the provision and discussion of novel frameworks for enabling men‟s self-reflective processes of biographic reinterpretation and repositioning, in order to facilitate the implementation of changes in their relational lives and strengthen their commitment to preserving and expanding these changes after program completion. This study highlights the centrality of the sense of self to understanding desistance from IPV, and the extent to which men‟s emotional lives have been overlooked in the intervention with men who use IPV and in the study of change in IPV. Findings are discussed in terms their implications for intervention and further research.


Principal supervisor

Thea Brown

Additional supervisor 1

Catherine Flynn

Additional supervisor 2

Danielle Tyson

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Primary Health Care. Social Work

Campus location


Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences