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Breaking the cycle of intergenerational abuse: A qualitative interview study of men participating in a perinatal program to reduce violence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Early online date21 Aug 2020
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2020
E-pub ahead of print21 Aug 2020

King's Authors


Domestic violence and abuse in the perinatal period leads to long-term adverse outcomes for infants, including a greater risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence in adulthood. Examining men's beliefs about fatherhood and violence, and their motivations for engaging in programs to reduce violence, is essential to understand how interventions can impact on behavior and break intergenerational cycles of abuse. The aim of this study was to explore the experience of becoming a father in a sample of men who are taking part in a whole-family perinatal program to reduce violence—For Baby's Sake. Ten men who had engaged with For Baby's Sake were interviewed about their experiences and beliefs around fatherhood. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using thematic analysis. Four themes were identified: making sense of violent behavior, conceptions of fatherhood, an emotional transition, and breaking the cycle. The data provide a unique insight into men's beliefs and behaviors at this transition point in their lives. This can aid the development of interventions aimed at breaking the cycle of abuse, indicating ways to harness the motivation for a new start and support men to overcome unhelpful behavior patterns.

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