Mayberry or Myth: An Ethnography of Family Violence in a Rural Arizona Community
AuthorKerns, Ronda (Roni) DeLaO
Committee ChairReed, Pamela G.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractFamily violence is a tragedy in any community. The pastoral image of a quiet home in "Mayberry" is shattered by the reality of family violence. The literature reveals that family violence is a social health issue in rural communities, however it does not provide sufficient insight into the influential contextual factors. The goal of this research was to conduct an ethnography into relevant contextual factors in rural family violence to provide researchers with information on which to base decisions, develop effective programs and interventions, and influence policy. The purpose was to better understand this social health issue within the context of a rural community and to identify influential contextual factors useful in developing a praxis theory for addressing health issues in rural communities.Specific aims were: 1) to learn from rural residents how rural context affects family and community health; 2) to deepen understanding of family violence related to rurality; and 3) to propose a theoretical model of family violence for eventual practical use in informing, assessing, and intervening with a community.Methodology: Within a paradigm of social constructivism, interviews and focus groups provided data for this ethnographic study and a scholarly description of family violence in a rural community in southeastern Arizona.Findings: An iterative process of data analysis yielded five organizing themes and an emerging praxis theory. The organizing themes were substance abuse; lack of resources; lack of understanding and awareness of family violence; family and values; and strong sense of community. The emerging theory indicates it is necessary to consider the context, physical environment, and significant relationships of a person when developing and implementing a plan of care to achieve optimal outcomes.Conclusion: A constructionist view that undergirds ethnographic methodology allows for the voice of the community to express the local realities. The juxtaposition of knowledge of nursing and this constructionist view generates meaningful descriptions and understandings of the health problem of family violence. This new knowledge can be used to work with the community to identify intervention strategies. The issues of family violence are inseparably intertwined within a community, so are the solutions.