“The dice are loaded”: Men’s Experiences of Help-Seeking for Female Perpetrated Domestic Abuse

Prof Doc Thesis

Coupland, R. 2020. “The dice are loaded”: Men’s Experiences of Help-Seeking for Female Perpetrated Domestic Abuse. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.88ww0
AuthorsCoupland, R.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

A paucity of research investigating men as a group has been in observed in the psychological literature, and researchers have further highlighted the need for psychologists to better understand and attend to men’s mental health needs. This study explored the help-seeking experiences of male victims of female-perpetrated domestic abuse. Patterns observed in the literature on men’s help-seeking behaviour have uncovered consistent under-utilisation of mental health resources, as well as the presence of gender role and masculinity-related issues in how mental health issues are perceived and responded to. Various internal and external barriers to help-seeking in male victims of female-perpetrated domestic abuse have also been observed. Review of the relevant theory and literature produced a rationale for exploring male domestic abuse victims using an indepth, qualitative approach. This UK-based study investigated the help-seeking experiences of eight research participants via semi-structured interviews. The resultant data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), and produced five superordinate themes: ‘Blind spots’; ‘Reasons for pause’; ‘Vulnerability’; ‘Invalidation’; and ‘Finding help’. Findings were considered in the context of psychological theory and the current literature, with a focus on aspects of invisibility, masculinity and female privilege. The findings suggest that gender role-related tensions may be a salient issue in helpseeking for men abused by women, that representation of abused men in domestic abuse discourse needs to be increased, and that aspects of female privilege may be used against male victims by female abusers, which can have a detrimental impact on victims’ ability to access help. Clinical implications are discussed, which include the need to challenge stereotypes about domestic abuse, develop gender-informed interventions and harnessing positive aspects of masculinity in designing mental health interventions.

KeywordsMen; abused men; battered men; male victim; male survivor; domestic abuse; domestic violence; partner abuse; intimate partner abuse
PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.88ww0
File Access Level
Publication dates
Online18 Dec 2020
Publication process dates
SubmittedNov 2020
Deposited18 Dec 2020
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License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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