Men who batter intimate partners: A grounded theory study of the development of male violence in intimate partner relationships

Donna Scott Tilley, Margaret Brackley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Intimate partner violence is a serious and pervasive problem in U.S. society, with 25% of women and 7.6% of men reporting physical abuse by an intimate partner each year. Understanding the risk factors for development of violence is essential toward the development of interventions to reduce partner violence. Much of the understanding about the development of partner violence is based on research with victims rather than perpetrators. The study was conducted with men convicted of assault on an intimate female partner. Grounded theory was the method used to analyze data from interviews with 16 men participating in a batterers' intervention and prevention program. From the data, the Violent Couples Model was developed. The primary elements of the Violent Couples Model are justifying violence, minimizing violence, childhood exposure to violence, ineffective anger management, childhood experience of violence, and ineffective conflict resolution. Social and familial factors serve as moderating elements. Contextual elements of the model include power and control, social isolation, desensitization, insecure maternal relationships, the view of violence as a private problem, ambivalent intimate relationships, objectification of women, immaturity, lack of awareness about what constitutes violence, mistrust, traditional views of the roles of women, financial issues, and jealousy. Interventions indicated in the model are primary, or preventive, in nature. The model focuses on prevention efforts with the family as a whole, rather than on batterers alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-297
Number of pages17
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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