Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Welfare

First Advisor's Name

Richard Beaulaurier

First Advisor's Committee Title


Second Advisor's Name

Paul Stuart

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Nicole Ruggiano

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Maria Elena Villar

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


batterer, domestic violence, batterers intervention, intimate partner violence, domestic violence offender, batterer perspective, domestic violence account, domestic violence context, batterer interview, qualitative

Date of Defense



Domestic violence is a serious public health problem in the United States; one which has proven intractable to researchers working on theory development and on effective prevention interventions. Although much has been reported from the perspectives of battered women, there are few studies that examine the perspectives of male offenders. In particular, there has been a call for more research on contextual and proximal events associated with incidents of domestic violence from the male offenders’ perspective.

In this study, ten male offenders were interviewed to address this need. Interviews were analyzed using grounded theory method to identify themes in the participants’ accounts of the violent incidents for which they were arrested or otherwise mandated to batterer intervention programs. According to the accounts of participants, the domestic violence in their cases is situational in nature, as opposed to the much more dangerous coercive controlling violence. Themes that emerged were: female primary aggressor initiating the violence; adverse financial impacts; perceptions of bias in favor of women by the justice system; offenders’ limited insight; and childhood trauma.

Research has demonstrated that childhood traumatic experiences are extremely common and that there is a significant relationship between childhood trauma and adult domestic violence. Themes that emerged in this study support those found in similar studies; however, domestic violence theory and intervention could be enhanced by investigating the neurobiology of trauma and trauma-informed treatment in future efforts to understand and address this prevalent public health problem.





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