Qualitative exploration of cognition in intimate partner violence offenders and intimate partner violence sex offenders research portfolio
Weldon, Sarah Elizabeth
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Aims: Recently, empirical literature exploring cognitive characteristics of intimate partner violence offenders has received considerable attention with both theory and practice historically focusing on victims of the abuse. Qualitative exploration has proposed implicit theories (ITs), that is distinct sets of schemas that offenders hold in relation to themselves, the world and others. In relation to cognition in intimate partner violence offenders, this thesis had two aims: to systematically analyse qualitative literature exploring cognition in intimate partner violence offenders and to implement interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore cognition in intimate partner violence sex offenders. Methods: Aims are addressed separately in two journal articles. A systematic review of qualitative literature exploring cognition in intimate partner violence offenders is presented in journal article 1. Journal article 2 utilises interpretative phenomenological analysis to explore cognition in 11 intimate partner sex offenders. Results: In relation to journal article 1, systematic searches of bibliographic databases in addition to hand-searches of various articles in the domain of intimate partner violence were conducted to identify eight empirical papers qualitatively exploring cognition in intimate partner violence offenders. Synthesis of the papers resulted in 10 themes being extrapolated thought to be representative of cognition in intimate partner violence males: “violence is normal”; “policing partner”; “women are provoking” “need for control”; “grievance/revenge”; “external factors responsible”; “rejection/abandonment”; “minimisation/denial”; “entitlement” and “remorse”. Journal article two utilised interpretative phenomenological analysis of 11 transcripts of IPV offenders. This revealed five superordinate and 14 subthemes which are proposed as implicit theories present in this specific offender group. These are: “violence is acceptable”; “grievance/revenge”; “dangerous world”; “need for control”; “real man”; “entitlement/women are objects”; “male sex drive/policing partner”; “women are provoking”; “rejection/abandonment”; “women are supportive”; “uncontrollability”; “nature of harm”; “the new me” and “I‟m not like them”. Conclusions: Cognitions identified from the systematic review are discussed in addition to limitations of the synthesis and clinical and empirical utility. The implicit theories identified in journal article 2 are discussed in relation to other offending behaviour groups in addition to their clinical implications in the development of effective interventions and risk assessment tools.