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  • 2020SteyertWoodsDClinPsy

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Young people’s experiences of abuse and conflict within their intimate partner relationships

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Elizabeth Steyert-Woods
Publication date2020
Number of pages216
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Research shows Adolescent Intimate Partner Abuse (AIPA) is a widespread problem with potential to impact significantly upon wellbeing. This thesis aimed to further the existing body of knowledge from a psychologically orientated perspective.

Section one presents a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies exploring young people’s experiences of the intersection between AIPA and new technologies. This followed the seven-step meta-ethnographic approach of Noblit and Hare (1988). Twelve eligible papers were identified that yielded three themes relating to technology as a platform for creating jealousy, and enabling the subsequent monitoring, and control of partners. Production of an overarching theme referring to technology and protection of ‘self-interests’ was enabled. Findings suggest technology represents a motivator and means for carrying out AIPA and that this occurs against a backdrop of adolescent development, including acquisition of gendered roles.

Section two presents a descriptive study, employing semi-structured interviews, that set out to explore young people’s experiences of psychological wellbeing in relation to AIPA. Participants were sixteen young people, aged 13 to 17 years, who had encountered self- defined ‘difficulties’ within their relationships. Data gathered were analysed using thematic analysis, resulting in the emergence of three themes that, when viewed as a whole, suggested events surrounding abusive acts cause considerable negative emotional impact of an anxious nature, and technology is regarded as integral to how problems manifest, contributing a significant burden for mental health.

Section three is an extended critique of the research paper, considering the role of personal positionality in shaping the research process and concluding that reflexivity in this area is of particular relevance to those working within caring professions and undertaking research.

Taken together, the thesis offers insights relevant to practice, policy, and future research, including furthering of theory. Clinical psychologists are well positioned to implement and further these findings within their practice and wider activities.