How Do Intimate Partner Violent Men Talk About Self-Control?

Kate Walker, Simon Goodman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    48 Downloads (Pure)


    This study investigates discourses that male perpetrators of intimate partner violence (IPV) use regarding self-control when talking about their IPV. Literature addressing the role of self-control in committing and avoiding using violence toward partners is discussed; however, it is shown that self-control has not been investigated from a discursive psychological perspective, in which the function of talk, rather than what this talk says about speakers’ cognitions, is analyzed. Discourse analysis of interviews with six male perpetrators, currently attending treatment and selected for their recent and multiple uses of IPV, revealed that talk of lacking self-control was used to account for situations when individuals engaged in violence. Conversely, talk about having self-control was used to account for refraining from IPV. An improvement narrative in which perpetrators of violence talked about moving from lacking to gaining self-control was also evident. Talk about self-control however was not as simple as this suggests because of particular note is the situation where perpetrators offered varying levels of self-control within their accounts of violence where having and lacking self-control was presented simultaneously. This demonstrates that talk about self-control is a discursive device that is used flexibly by perpetrators to manage their accountability for acts of IPV.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1315-1331
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - May 2015


    • self-control
    • discourse analysis
    • discursive psychology
    • intimate partner violence


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