Health Sciences, Nursing.
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies.
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
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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.
AbstractSpousal abuse has been a phenomenon that has been explored widely by many disciplines, yet few studies have included adequate samples of African-American people. The purpose of this study was to explore spousal abuse from an African-American female perspective. This ethnographic study was guided by Brofenbrenner's ecological model and Neuman's system model. These models provided a view of the social, political and economic constraints that contribute to spousal abuse as well as a view of the interpersonal and intrapersonal interactions that occur because of the abuse. Narratives of six African-American abused females were transcribed and coded. Then, patterns and themes were abstracted to form domains which described the experience of abuse. The narratives revealed three major findings: (1) five stages of abuse and coping that described a process of abuse; (2) three cultural themes; (3) a holistic view of spousal abuse based on the Brofenbrenner's ecological model and Neuman's system model. The five stages identified in the process of abuse were: stage 1--transference of rules, where the victim learned rules of behavior for intimate relationships from the family of origin; stage 2--beginning abusive period--occurring after the couple start to live together and violence begins; stage 3--rage and reality--when all attempts to stop the abuse have failed and anger is predominant; stage 4--transistion--the victim leaves the relationship and stage 5--stabilization and integration--when the victim stabilizes her life and begins to integrate the abusive experience. Three cultural themes were abstracted from the narratives. Patterns of Independence--the cultural message of the importance of being independent and not relying on anyone was consistent. The Family as a Resource was also a underlying theme among the victims. Although the abuse was kept a secret from the family of origin during the abuse, the family was seen as a source of nurturance and support after the abusive experience. A holistic view of spousal abuse was obtained revealing that the political, social, and economic constraints as well as the intrapersonal and interpersonal factors that victims faced everyday were factors in how they perceived and intervened in the abuse.
Degree ProgramGraduate College