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The Role of Food and Food Behaviors in Intimate Partner Violence

NCJ Number
Journal of Family Issues Volume: 44 Issue: 6 Dated: 2023 Pages: 1572-1596
Date Published
25 pages

This paper discusses a research study aimed at exploring if, and how, intimate partner violence is related to other food behaviors that could impact food security.


There is a paucity of research that systematically examines how food behaviors play a role in intimate partner violence (IPV). Therefore, this qualitative study aims to answer the broad question, what role do food behaviors play in intimate relationships? Food behavior narratives emerging from participants of court-mandated domestic violence (DV) offender treatment programs were analyzed using grounded theory methods. Five themes emerged. Two described inflammatory/harmful roles: food as a trigger for anger and violence; and food as a mechanism of “othering.” One theme described the role of food behaviors in promoting unequal and equal relationships: food as an embodiment of gender roles. Two themes described reconciliatory/beneficial roles: food as a mechanism of recognition; and food as a representation of group rapport. Food behaviors can escalate into conflicts but can also be used as a tool to resolve conflicts. This report also discusses limitations and the need for future research. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2023