The function of intimate partner violence for female perpetrators: an examination using multiple sequential functional analysis

Mappin, Lyndsay Jayne (2013) The function of intimate partner violence for female perpetrators: an examination using multiple sequential functional analysis. DClinPsy thesis, University of Lincoln.

The function of intimate partner violence for female perpetrators: an examination using multiple sequential functional analysis
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Item Type:Thesis (DClinPsy)
Item Status:Live Archive


Background. Studies which have found high rates of intimate partner violence have identified that women use as much, if not more, partner violence than men. Research studies into the aetiology of female partner violence have identified a number of related risk factors but there is no single theory which adequately explains the processes by which partner violence develops and is maintained in the learning histories of females. Treatment and risk
assessment options for this group are under developed and it is critical that research is undertaken to understand this phenomenon in order to provide effective interventions in the future.
Study aim. This study aims to use a multiple sequential functional analysis to explore whether behavioural principles, when applied to the developmental histories of females, can be used to understand the trajectory of partner violence across the lifespan.
Method. Three female participants were recruited from Probation and Forensic Psychology services in the East Midlands, UK. Clinical interviews were conducted with participants using a biographical format to collate detailed information around all aspects of female’s histories, current functioning and index offending. For accuracy, interview data was triangulated with data from professional interviews and file review. The multiple sequential functional analysis
was conducted according to the principles of radical behaviourism and applied functional analysis. Data was utilised in the analysis based on the pragmatic truth criterion of functional contextualism.
Results. The results are three detailed functional analytic case studies that show the development of partner violence for each participant from formative experiences to the current index offence. The results demonstrate that functional analytic principles can be used to understand the developmental pathway of partner violence in a small group of females. Synthesis of the three case studies identifies that violence and inciting violence in a male partner has functional value for these women and that issues such as power and control are important factors in female use of partner violence. Other factors of commonality are history of childhood and adulthood abuse, gendered belief systems, inferred insecure attachment style and borderline personality traits.
Discussion. Power and control were significant factors in these women’s learning histories, both in terms of the victimisation and abuse they had suffered but also in their own use of violence and coercive behaviours. The findings that partner violence and inciting partner violence holds functional value for this group of women is controversial and directly contrasts with the feminist literature. This has important implications for future research and clinical
implications. A strength of the current methodology is that it identifies subtle differences amongst learning histories, which has implications for development of individualised treatment planning and risk assessment for this under represented group.

Keywords:Intimate partner violence, Female perpetrators
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C840 Clinical Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:18971
Deposited On:09 Oct 2015 09:29

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