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Clin Psychol Rev. 2008 Oct;28(7):1096-107. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2008.03.003. Epub 2008 Mar 17.

Intimate partner violence theoretical considerations: moving towards a contextual framework.

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The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; Rhode Island Hospital, Department of General Internal Medicine, 111 Plain Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA.


Several theories have been developed to provide a conceptual understanding of intimate partner violence (IPV) episodes. Although each of these theories has found some degree of empirical support, they are limited in their explanatory power of IPV episodes and their ability to significantly impact the efficacy of IPV prevention and treatment programs. The current paper provides a review and critique of current IPV theories and highlights strategies for improving upon these theories. An alternative theoretical conceptualization is introduced that incorporates existing IPV and functional analytic literature into a contextual framework for conceptualizing IPV episodes. Components of the IPV contextual framework include distal, static and proximal antecedents; motivating factors; behavioral repertoire; discriminative stimuli (i.e. environmental cues/signals); verbal rules; and IPV consequences. The proposed theoretical framework offers two primary advantages over former IPV theories. First, it provides a comprehensive conceptualization of IPV by integrating components of previous IPV theories and their related empirical findings into one, cohesive conceptual framework. Additionally, it allows for a more fine-grained analysis of more proximal variables potentially related to discrete IPV episodes. A discussion of how the proposed theoretical framework may influence future IPV research and clinical practice is provided.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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