Unraveling In-law Conflict & Its Association with Intimate Partner Violence in Chinese Culture: Narrative Accounts of Chinese Battered Women

W.M. Choi, Ko Ling Edward Chan, Douglas A. Brownridge

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This paper analyzes in-law conflict and disagreements experienced by Chinese battered women, and investigates their association with intimate partner violence (IPV). Conflict between a daughter- and mother-in-law seems to be a common phenomenon in Chinese families. Twenty-two Chinese women aged from 25 to 69 (M=41) who had experienced in-law conflict were interviewed in a refuge for battered women in Hong Kong. While most of the women experienced conflict with their mother-in-law, some interviewees were also abused by their sisters-in-law. Additionally, one case involved a daughter- and father-in-law conflict and another case encompassed a son-and mother-in-law conflict. From their experiences, some important aspects of conflict and disagreement between parents- and children-in-law were identified, including disputes over financial matters, conflicting lifestyles, battles over children, differences in gender role expectations and being a scapegoat of the husband. Using the analysis of narrative accounts of Chinese battered women, the effects of perceived Chinese culture and family dynamics on in-law conflict are studied. Implications of the study for prevention of, and intervention in, domestic violence, as well as future studies of IPV, are addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-92
Number of pages11
JournalWomen's Health and Urban Life
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

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