What does violence tell us about gay male couple relationships?

McCann, Damian (2011) What does violence tell us about gay male couple relationships? DSysPsych thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Full text available

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Research on intimate partner violence and abuse in same-sex couple’s relationships is still a relatively new area of interest. Given the silence surrounding this form of abuse within the field, there is much to be learned by research focusing on its meaning. This research study examined violence and abuse in the couple’s relationships of gay men from a British perspective. The study is located within a phenomenological approach, designed to capture the essence of the individual’s experience. The choice of a grounded theory approach for the analysis of the data rested on it being particularly helpful in generating theory in areas where this is lacking. However, the challenge of recruiting participants to the study limited the utility of the method, highlighting the ongoing difficulty of gaining access to sexual minority participants for studies involving sensitive issues. Eight participants, all gay men, were recruited and semi-structured interviews administered as a basis for generating data. A focus group discussion also formed part of the study and considered the question of whether same-sex partner abuse is the same or different from that seen in heterosexual couple’s relationships. Findings suggest that love for one’s partner, hope for change and quality of sex, accounted for the ongoing investment made by these men in their violent and abusive relationships. The emphasis on physical abuse diminished the importance of other forms of abuse, i.e. emotional, psychological and financial abuse. The direction of the abuse was in contrast to that seen in heterosexual relationships, i.e. the partner with most instrumental power, was the one most at risk of abuse. There was little recognition of the impact of homophobia or internalized homophobia as possible contributory factors in the development of violence and abuse. Participants tended to rely on their own resources rather than seeking outside help and the clinical implications of this were considered.

Item Type: Thesis (DSysPsych)
Additional Information: A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of East London in collaboration with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust for the Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Systemic Psychotherapy, Same Sex Relationships, Systemic Couple Therapy
Subjects: Couple & Family Therapies > Couple/Marital Therapy
Research, Tests, Assessments > Grounded Theory
Sex Psychology > Same Sex Relationships
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
URI: https://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/654

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