Experiences of Family Violence Committed by Relatives With Severe Mental Illness: A Grounded Theory [2020]

In forensic psychiatry, family violence perpetrated by a loved one suffering from severe mental illness is a significant problem thought to affect nearly half of families. To examine this poorly documented issue, a qualitative study using a grounded theory research strategy was conducted with family members who have experienced violence committed by a relative with severe mental illness. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 14 participants who had experienced this type of violence. The works of poststructuralist thinkers Jacques Donzelot and Michel Foucault inform the theoretical framework. Qualitative analysis of the data led to the emergence of five major themes: medicolegal apparatus, experience of violence, family’s responsibility toward the violent relative, exclusion and stigmatization, and suffering and resilience. The main results of this qualitative study indicate that families are governed through specific mechanisms, including instrumentalization of the family’s role and transfer of the violent person’s care to the family. Obstacles preventing families from being included in their relative’s care were also raised. This research contributes to nursing by shedding light on clinical interventions and health policy in family care. It also offers insight into the provision of appropriate quality care in particularly complicated family situations.

Paradis-Gagné, Etienne PhD, RN; Holmes, Dave PhD, RN, FAAN; Perron, Amélie PhD, RN
Journal of Forensic Nursing: 4/6 2020 – Volume 16 – Issue 2
DOI: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000272