The effect of domestic violence on the mother-child relationship

Barnes, Heather (2011). The effect of domestic violence on the mother-child relationship. University of Birmingham. Clin.Psy.D.


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Part one of the thesis reviews the findings of research studies that have explored the relationship between the warmth a mother shows her child, and children’s wellbeing whilst living with domestic violence. The literature discusses possible ways in which maternal warmth affect the child’s psychological and behavioural outcomes in children exposed to domestic violence. Findings showed that lack of maternal warmth is consistently associated with an increase in the development of maladaptive behaviours for children exposed to domestic violence. Part two of the thesis is a qualitative research study that explores aspects of the mother-daughter relationship that have facilitated the development of resilience. Mother-daughter groups took part in a photo-taking activity, followed by a semi-structured interview. Their stories, analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, described the interactive process that facilitating their developing resilience. Reaching a breaking point in which they were no longer able to cope with the violence, these families moved into a women’s refuge, which provided safety and security for them. Their resilience developed as they grew in esteem and their identity changed from that of victims to survivors. The mother-child relationship and connections with their extended family were seen as pivotal to this process, and recommendations are described.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Clin.Psy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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