• Leaving an abusive relationship: A hermeneutic phenomenological study of lifetime experiences of women who have left abusive relationships

      Bracken, Michele; Thomas, Sue Ann, 1947- (2008)
      The purpose of this study was to make a contribution to what is known about the leaving process by providing a voice for abused women to determine meaningful patterns associated with the life experiences of 10 women who had left an abusive relationship. Through a qualitative, hermeneutic, phenomenological research design, meaningful life experiences of women who left abusive relationships were interpreted through life patterns. Max Van Manen's (1990) specific methodology was used because of its descriptive and interpretative blend as well as strong orientation to the nature of the phenomenon. This design allowed development of a comprehensive understanding and interpretation of the phenomenon as a whole. Margaret Newman's Theory of Expanding Consciousness (1994) was interwoven within this study, which enhanced the interview process, provided a method of chronology for the collected data as well as provided a nursing focus to the interpretation. Three essential themes emerged from the in-depth interview analyses: (1) Disconnection from self and others, especially mothers; (2) Experiencing chaos related to extreme shame and terror; and (3) Experiencing strength and resilience in the face of minimal resources and support. None of these participants utilized the health care system to help them. These findings provide the foundation for future research on how nurses can help women to disclose their abusive situations. Providing compassion, acknowledgement, and support will allow women to trust the nurse and seek help. By listening to the stories these women have to tell, a nurse will be better equipped to individualize her care.
    • A longitudinal exploration of the factors that affect the timing of women's decisions to leave abusive relationships

      Panchanadeswaran, Subadra; DePanfilis, Diane (2002)
      Objectives. The objectives of this study were three-fold: (1) To describe the timing of abused women's departure from abusive relationships, (2) To empirically identify the factors that affect women's decisions to exit violent relationships, and (3) To examine life satisfaction levels of women who left with that of women who remained in abusive relationships for at least 10 years. Potential factors were identified based on evidence from earlier research. Methods. This study was based on secondary data analysis of a 10-year longitudinal data set of ethnically diverse abused and non-abused women. The current study sample comprised of 100 eligible abused women from a convenience sample of 362 abused and non-abused women in the original study. Data were collected in three waves from in-person interviews by trained interview coordinators. Data for this study were analyzed using event history analyses and MANCOVA techniques. Results. Three Cox regression models were constructed to explore the predictors of the timing of women's decisions to exit abusive relationships. In model 1, five variables predicted the timing of women's decision to exit abusive relationships: age, ethnicity, alcohol consumption levels of women and their partners and the frequency of less severe physical aggression (as per less severe physical aggression subscale of CTS) after controlling for other variables in the model. In addition to age, ethnicity, alcohol consumption levels of women and their partners, there was a significant interaction between the frequency of less severe physical aggression and shelter use in model 2. In model 3, age, ethnicity, alcohol consumption levels of women and the frequency of verbal aggression (as per verbal aggression subscale of CTS) emerged as predictors. Women who left their abusive partners did not differ significantly in their life satisfaction levels when compared with those who had remained in the abusive relationships for at least 10 years. Implications. Social workers intervening with abused women need to be better informed of the factors that are critical for women's safety, optimal times for intervention, and the possible avenues that could help women to resolve their victimization. This knowledge has significant implications for both clinicians and policy developers.