Domestic Violence Against Partners According to Wife-Beaters: Construction of Lifestyle and Life Meaning

Efrat Vignansky, Uri Timor

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4 Scopus citations


This qualitative study examines the life stories of men who committed violent crimes against their intimate partners, for which they have served prison sentences. For the study, nine men in a rehabilitation hostel in Israel were interviewed. The study aim was to understand the psychological process that had brought the participants to behave violently towards their partners. Narrative analysis of the life stories resulted in two main themes. The first, childhood, was related to how the interviewee during his childhood perceived his personal identity and his parents. The second theme represented the adult interviewee's worldview of violence in general and of intimate partner violence in particular. The findings revealed a subjective feeling of inferiority and lack of worth and volition during childhood, a feeling of chaos, and the absence of existential meaning. To avoid these feelings in adulthood, the participants chose a lifestyle that included the use of force and violence, which provided them with a sense of control and meaning. Discussion of the findings is based on the individual psychology theory of Adler and his followers, as well as on the existentialist orientation. According to these approaches, the study participants, who lacked a sense of positive "existential being," developed a negative lifestyle that enabled them to feel a sense of security, value, and meaning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1150
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

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© The Author(s) 2015.


  • batterers
  • life meaning
  • lifestyle
  • qualitative-narrative study


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