Cycle of abuse

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Cycle of abuse is the name of a theory that was developed to explain certain patterns in an abusive relationship, and in domestic violence. Lenore Walker developed the theory in the 1970s, after she had observed that there is a pattern that repeats in such relationships:

  1. Tension building phase - This occurs before an aggression
  2. Acting-out phase - There are violent incidents, some of the incidents may also be abusive
  3. Reconciliation/Honeymoon phase - The parties either get together again and there is an apology, or the incidents are simply ignored.
  4. Calm phase - During this phase, the relationship looks normal; there will be some difficulties. These difficulties lead to another tension-building phase.

Walker's cycle of abuse theory was regarded as a revolutionary and important concept in the study of abuse and interpersonal violence.[1] However, researchers have occasionally criticised Walker's methodology, preconceptions or findings.

References[change | change source]

  1. Dutton, Donald G. and Susan Golant. 1997. The Batterer: A Psychological Profile. 0465033881