Domestic Violence and Psychology: Critical Perspectives on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Domestic Violence and Psychology

Critical Perspectives on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, 2nd Edition

By Paula Nicolson


186 pages

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pub: 2019-01-22
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Despite changes to laws and policies across most western democracies intended to combat violence to women, intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA) remains discouragingly commonplace.

Domestic Violence and Psychology: Critical Perspectives on Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse showcases women’s harrowing stories of living with and leaving violent partners, offering a psychological perspective on domestic violence and developing a theoretical framework for examining the context, intentions and experiences in the lives of people who experience abuse and abuse themselves.

Nicolson provides an analysis of survivors’ real-life stories, and thoughts about IPVA. The attitudes of the general public and health and social care professionals are also presented and discussed. The theoretical perspective employs three levels of evidence – the material (context), discursive (explanations) and intrapsychic (emotional). Domestic Violence and Psychology is divided into three parts accordingly, engaging qualitative data from interviews and quantitative data from surveys to illustrate these theoretical perspectives. Although many pro-feminist sociologists and activists firmly believe that any attempt to explain domestic violence potentially condones it, this book takes up the challenge to make a compelling case demonstrating how we need to widen understanding of the psychology of survivors and their intimate relationships if we are to defeat IPVA.

The new edition has been updated to include the latest developments in IPVA research and practice, and in particular examines the impact of a violent and abusive family life on all members, including children. This is essential reading for students, academics and professionals interested in domestic abuse, as well as professionals and practitioners, including psychologists, social workers, the police, prison officers, probation staff, policy makers, and charity workers.



Table of Contents




Part 1: The Context

Chapter 1: What is Intimate partner Violence and Abuse (IPVA)?

Chapter Two: IPVA: the material context

Chapter 3: Psychology, feminism and ideology: Moving forward

Part 2: Discursive constructions of domestic violence and abuse

Chapter 4: The social construction of IPVA: myths, legends and formula stories

Chapter 5: Public perceptions and moral tales


Part 3: (Re)turning to Intra-psychic Psychology

Chapter 6: Lived experience and the ‘material-discursive-intra-psychic’ self

Chapter 7: IPVA across generations: intra-psychic dimensions

Chapter 8: ‘Doing’ IPVA: Dilemmas of care and blame



About the Author

Paula Nicolson is Professor Emeritus, in the Department of Social Work at Royal Holloway, University of London, as well as a founder member of the British Psychological Society’s Psychology of Women Section. She is a Fellow and chartered member of the BPS, Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and has worked as an academic psychologist since 1978. She is author of many psychology books and now also writes novels with a psychological theme.

About the Series

Women and Psychology

This series brings together current theory and research on women and psychology. Drawing on scholarship from a number of different areas of psychology, it bridges the gap between abstract research and the reality of women's lives by integrating theory and practice, research and policy.

Each book addresses a 'cutting edge' issue of research, covering topics such as postnatal depression and eating disorders, and addressing a wide range of theories and methodologies.

The series provides accessible and concise accounts of key issues in the study of women and psychology, and clearly demonstrates the centrality of psychology debates within women's studies or feminism.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology