Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Qualitative Phenomenological Study of the Lived Experiences of Women Remaining in Abusive Relationships
by Duley, Larenda A., Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2012, 201; 3497881
Abstract (Summary)

There are over 5 million women affected by domestic violence each year. Up to 76% of these women remain in abusive relationships. Psychological approaches and strategies used by women remaining in abusive relationships have been misunderstood. The primary purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological, and descriptive study was to investigate the lived experiences and personal meanings of women remaining in abusive relationships. The lived-world, the world as lived and experienced by a person as opposed to what one thinks about it, is central to phenomenology. Social cognitive theory was used as a theoretical lens to view the lived experiences of abused women's approaches, strategies, cognitions, feelings, and self-beliefs related to remaining in abusive relationships. Semi-structured interviews composed of open-ended questions were conducted with a purposive and snowball sampling of 5 abused women participants recruited through executive organizations, businesses, churches, community boards, and available counseling services from a Central Florida community. Participants were screened to determine if they were currently living within a shelter and in abusive relationships. A phenomenological philosophical framework was used to illuminate the lived experiences of this population. The research question explored was, What are the lived experiences and personal meanings of women remaining in abusive relationships? The data collected were examined and analyzed using Moustakas's modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method to discover and develop themes and categories for explaining the meaning of lived experiences of women remaining in abusive relationships. The findings elucidated 23 themes, of which the entire group of participants experienced 15 themes. A few of the elucidated themes included fear, hoping things would change, staying because of children, understanding their spouse's behavior, and counseling helping. Future studies interviewing men who are abusive to elucidate their personal meanings and lived experiences may illuminate their beliefs, emotions, and thoughts related to why women remain in the abusive environment and discover more about the abuser's lived experiences and characteristics. Recommendations for future research should explore the lived experiences and personal meanings of marital or couple counseling in which the focus is rebuilding and repairing abusive relationships for couples or partners desiring to remain in their relationships and in which the abuse has stopped.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Edger, Kailla
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 73/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Social psychology
Keywords: Abusive relationships, Domestive violence
Publication Number: 3497881
ISBN: 978-1-267-19645-3
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