What does violence tell us about gay male couple relationships?

Prof Doc Thesis

McCann, Damian 2012. What does violence tell us about gay male couple relationships? Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsMcCann, Damian
TypeProf Doc Thesis

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.

Keywordscouples psychotherapy; gay male couples; domestic violence
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1597
Publication dates
Print06 Jun 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited06 Jun 2012
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