Be the Change You Want to See: Discovering Principles of Nonviolent Social Movements in Intimate Relationships

Jason B. Whiting, Steven M. Harris, Jaclyn D. Cravens, Megan Oka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Although principles of nonviolence have been applied in sociopolitical arenas, they can also be helpful in understanding intimate partner relationships. This is because couples who handle conflict in a constructive way are often using techniques and ideas congruent with nonviolent philosophies. Relationships that handle conflict by becoming aggressive could potentially apply principles of nonviolence to help them address problems in constructive ways. The purpose of this study was to explore qualitative data that described intimate partner dynamics (including conflict, violence, appraisals, and safety) to better understand how individuals apply principles of nonviolence in their partnerships to achieve healthier relationship outcomes. Three qualitative data sets were analyzed using grounded theory methodology. From this secondary analysis, emerged categories and concepts that illustrate the ways couples demonstrate nonviolence principles in these relationships. The first main category was awareness, which included accountability, reflection, commitment, and justice. The second category was action, which included the concepts of authenticity, resistance, repair, and care. These are shown in a process model that in undergirded by the category of context, which includes interaction, gender/culture, and family of origin. Implications for clinical practice and research are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-377
Number of pages11
JournalFamily Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2016.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • couple conflict
  • intimate partner violence
  • intimate partnerships
  • nonviolence


Dive into the research topics of 'Be the Change You Want to See: Discovering Principles of Nonviolent Social Movements in Intimate Relationships'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this