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"I wish that he hit me" : the experiences of people who have psychoemotionally abused others

Streker, Peter John (2012) "I wish that he hit me" : the experiences of people who have psychoemotionally abused others. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


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Methods of psychological and emotional abuse have typically been studied either independently or interchangeably. This research implemented a critical community psychology framework to address them together under the notion of psychoemotional abuse and develop a conceptual model that was grounded in 20 participants’ experiences of perpetrating and receiving various forms of psychoemotional abuse. The model depicted a psychoemotionally abusive relationship as one that was characterised across four dimensions by an insecure social environment, an unequal balance of power, disrespectful attitudes and self-serving behaviour. The participants’ experiences were also employed to categorise five distinct patterns of psychoemotional abuse: withdrawal, oppression, restriction, disintegration and abuse through a secondary source. The motives that propelled each pattern are examined in detail. While the participants disclosed that two of every three psychoemotionally abusive incidents occurred in their homes, they also received and perpetrated psychoemotional abuse in various roles across a range of public places. A strengths-based approach was used to investigate methods the participants adopted to withstand, resist and protect themselves from psychoemotional abuse and stop themselves from abusing others. The research developed a series of pragmatic models for practitioners and concluded that a multi-layered mix of interventions is required to prevent psychoemotional abuse and minimise its harm. While individual and small group strategies remain essential, a range of broader social, cultural and political factors that inadvertently excuse many incidents of psychoemotional abuse also need to be remedied.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Uncontrolled Keywords: abusive relationships, pychological abuse, emotional abuse, social abuse, economic abuse, prevention, coping, protection, family violence, oppression, withdrawal, disintegration
Subjects: FOR Classification > 1103 Clinical Sciences
Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Depositing User: VU Library
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2012 04:07
Last Modified: 23 May 2013 16:58
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