Jason B. Whiting, PhD, is with the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Texas Tech University; Megan Oka, PhD, is with the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Brigham Young University; Stephen T. Fife, PhD, is with the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at UNLV.
Appraisal Distortions And Intimate Partner Violence: Gender, Power, And Interaction
Article first published online: 6 MAR 2012
© 2012 American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy
Volume 38, Issue Supplement s1, pages 133–149, June 2012
How to Cite
Whiting, J. B., Oka, M. and Fife, S. T. (2012), Appraisal Distortions And Intimate Partner Violence: Gender, Power, And Interaction. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 38: 133–149. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00285.x
Portions of this article were presented at the AAMFT National Conference in Memphis, TN, October 31, 2008.
- Issue published online: 6 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 6 MAR 2012
In relationships characterized by control, abuse, or violence, many appraisal distortions occur including denial and minimization. However, the nature of the distortion varies depending on the individual’s role in the relationship (i.e., abuser or victim). Reducing these distortions is an important component in treatment success and involves accepting responsibility for actions and attributions. This study used constructivist grounded theory methods to explore the following questions: (1) What are the types of distortions that are used by individuals who have been in violent or abusive relationships? (2) What are the gender and power differences in the appraisal distortions used? (3) What are the functions and interactions of the distortions in the relationship dynamics? Qualitative analysis of interviews with 29 individuals who had been in abusive relationships found that there were several types of distortions used by participants, but there were differences in the function of the distortion, depending on the individual’s role in the abuse. These generally corresponded to power and gender, where the male as perpetrator used different distortions (or used similar distortions for different reasons) than did the female as victim. Suggestions for research as well as treatment implications for both offenders and survivors of abuse are given.