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Gender Roles, Parenting, and Intimate Partner Violence


Graduate School of Social Service Assistant Professor Jenn Lilly, Ph.D., has recently published three articles that explore gender roles, parenting, and intimate partner violence among Indigenous Peoples and the Native American population.

Below are the articles and information from their abstracts. Each article title is hyperlinked to the full piece for further reading.

A Dad Can Get the Money and the Mom Stays at Home”: Patriarchal Gender Role Attitudes, Intimate Partner Violence, Historical Oppression, and Resilience Among Indigenous Peoples
Published in Sex Roles

Research has shown that gender role attitudes influence a number of health-related outcomes, including intimate partner violence (IPV). Yet the gender role attitudes of Indigenous peoples – a population that experiences persistent health and violence disparities – have received scant scholarly attention. Using the Framework of Historical Oppression, Resilience, and Transcendence (FHORT), the purpose of this mixed methodology was to qualitatively explore U.S. Indigenous peoples’ gender role attitudes and quantitatively examine how key social determinants of health, including IPV perpetration, historical oppression, and resilience, relate to gender role attitudes. This research integrates qualitative and quantitative data from two Southeastern tribes with a total of 563 unique data sources. Regression analysis revealed male sex and IPV victimization were associated with higher patriarchal gender role attitudes, while historical oppression and resilience were associated with lower patriarchal gender role attitudes. Resilience was also associated with lower “victim blaming.” Ethnographic team-based data analysis methods revealed qualitative themes of patriarchal gender role attitudes and gendered socialization processes. This work highlights how key aspects of the FHORT might explain Indigenous peoples’ patriarchal gender role attitudes, suggesting the need to redress historical oppression and patriarchal roles through decolonization.

‘A learning experience’: Disciplinary and parenting practices among Native American families
Published in Child & Family Social Work

Research indicates that effective disciplinary practices, such as offering praise and teaching acceptable versus non-acceptable behaviour, can act as protective factors against the social and behavioural health disparities experienced by Native Americans (NA). The purpose of this critical ethnographic study (n = 436 qualitative elder, adult, youth and professional participants) was to use the Framework of Historical Oppression, Resilience, and Transcendence (FHORT) to qualitatively examine participants’ reported experiences of disciplinary practices. Thematic analysis of qualitative results indicated several approaches to disciplining children, which included the following themes: (a) Establishing Structure and Boundaries; (b) Taking Away Privileges and Rewarding Good Behavior; and (c) Teaching Right from Wrong. Results indicate that despite experiencing historical oppression, NAs still report many disciplinary and other parenting practices contributing to family resilience that were present prior to colonization. Communal and relational supports contribute to positive parenting practices, indicating an importance to promote holistic and inclusive clinical treatment approaches.

‘Marriage is Going to Fix It’: Indigenous Women’s Experiences with Early Childbearing, Early Marriage and Intimate Partner Violence
Published in the British Journal of Social Work

Intimate partner violence (IPV), early childbearing (ECB) and early marriage (EM) are interconnected to the historical oppression of patriarchal colonialism imposed upon Indigenous peoples throughout the world by colonising nations, such as the UK. The artefacts of colonial oppression persist in both colonising nations and those that have been colonised through social norms of patriarchal oppression perpetuated upon women with far-reaching consequences. Indigenous women of the US experience higher rates of IPV, ECB and EM than any other ethnic group—which pose risks to women’s physical, psychological, socioeconomic and educational status. The purpose of this study is to explore Indigenous women’s experiences with ECB and EM through a critical ethnography with two US tribes. Through reconstructive analysis the following themes emerged: (i) ECB as a Precursor to Marriage; (ii) Unequal and Overburdened Marriages; (iii) ECB, EM and IPV; and (iv) Continued Harmful Effects of Multiple Abusive Relationships. Indigenous women’s experiences of ECB and EM are connected to patriarchal historical oppression that systematically dehumanises and oppresses Indigenous women, who were once treated with respect and esteem. Decolonisation and re-visualisation to promote the status of women and girls are needed to offset women’s constrained wellness, socio-political status and safety.


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