Date of Conferral







Dr. Rachel Piferi


Although sexual and physical abuse have clear definitions, psychological abuse is difficult to define and conceptualize. Though men can and have experienced psychological abuse, there is limited research on heterosexual men's experiences with psychological abuse and much of the research on abuse has been on women. Therefore, this qualitative phenomenological study, grounded on control theory, the social choice framework, and narrative theory, was conducted to investigate how heterosexual men describe their experiences with psychological abuse. A phenomenological qualitative approached with purposeful sampling was used to draw a sample of heterosexual male participants (N = 6), ages 30 to 42 were interviewed, and transcripts were created from their responses for content analysis. The data was analyzed and coded to identify categories and themes. The results of this study indicated that heterosexual men do experience psychological abuse and they define this phenomenon with the underlying behavior of manipulation where physical abuse may or may not be prevalent. This research may also provide behavior health practitioners an opportunity to develop treatment strategies that address heterosexual men who experience psychological abuse. This research may also provide understanding to policy, lawmakers and law enforcement into understanding the lived experiences of heterosexual men who experience psychological abuse. This research has the potential for social change by adjusting both perspective and clinical definition as it pertains to heterosexual men who have experienced psychological abuse.