Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Classifying Intimate Partner Violence: A Functional Typology

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posted on 2021-12-08, 17:33 authored by Annabelle WrideAnnabelle Wride

A neglect of theoretical development has impaired psychological explanations for intimate partner violence (IPV), which in turn has hindered effective interventions for people who perpetrate IPV. This thesis addresses this problem by applying recent perspectives on classification to examine whether typologies of IPV facilitate useful explanations of these behaviours, and proposes an alternative strategy for classifying IPV. First, the role of classification is discussed, in terms of the theoretical requirements typologies should fulfil, and with specific reference to the classification of offending behaviour. Second, two of the most influential typologies of IPV – Holtzworth-Munroe and Stuart’s (1994), and Johnson’s (1995, 2006) typologies – are critically analysed according to their conceptual problems. Third, a preliminary alternative approach to classifying IPV is proposed, in response to recent theoretical developments that suggest a focus on the function of IPV behaviours is required. This Motivational Systems Typology classifies individuals who have perpetrated IPV based on their motivations, and its capacity for facilitating explanations of IPV is demonstrated through an exemplar. Finally, the implications of this typology for understandings of IPV and classification are discussed.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Forensic Psychology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


Dixon, Louise; Ward, Tony