Women's lived experiences of emotional and psychological abuse in heterosexual relationships: behaviours, effects, awareness and support

Lykhina, A 2013, Women's lived experiences of emotional and psychological abuse in heterosexual relationships: behaviours, effects, awareness and support, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Women's lived experiences of emotional and psychological abuse in heterosexual relationships: behaviours, effects, awareness and support
Author(s) Lykhina, A
Year 2013
Abstract Unlike physical and sexual violence, less is known about emotional and psychological abuse in intimate relationships. In relation to the latter, there is no consensus on the definition, the methods of measurement, and the behaviours that constitute emotional and psychological abuse. The goal of this study is to contribute to the understanding of intimate partner violence by considering emotional and psychological abuse within heterosexual intimate relationships from the perspective of self-identified, abused women. More specifically, I analyse the behaviours that women consider to be emotionally and psychologically abusive, and the negative effects of that abuse. I examine how women became aware of such abuse in their intimate relationships and what type of support they received from formal and informal sources in response to their experiences. Using a feminist, phenomenological qualitative approach, I gathered this information through 20 in-depth interviews and questionnaires.
I identified 35 emotionally and psychologically abusive behaviours and 22 negative effects, mostly consistent with previous research findings, but much more extensive than Australian domestic and family violence legislation. My findings indicate that emotional and psychological abuse needs more acknowledgment publicly. It needs to be identified in a more consistent manner in legislation and other related policy. My findings may help educate women and the general public on what constitutes emotional and psychological abuse in a more organised and clear manner. In relation to practice implications, my research suggests that there is a need for further training of formal and informal sources of support through professional and community education. This would include information with an emphasis on the harmful effects that emotional and psychological abuse can have on women’s mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, including social and financial impacts.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global, Urban and Social Studies
Keyword(s) emotional and psychological abuse
intimate partner violence
abusive behaviours
formal and informal support networks
negative effects
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Created: Fri, 23 Aug 2013, 09:14:40 EST by Brett Fenton
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