Transitional Living Program: Research Design

Abstract

This case study will investigate what constitutes survival skills and a supportive living environment from the perspective of the Transitional Living Program participants and support staff. Research questions that will guide this investigation are the following: (1) What survival skills do you need to live independent (self-sufficient, free) from an abusive relationship? And (2) what does a supportive (encouraging, caring, helpful, accommodating) living environment mean to you in a transitional living environment? Such questions help gather insight for improving intervention programs for abused women; although great improvements have been made in terms of legislation, policy, and federal funding, such advances have not been enough to improve the situations of abused women.

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Excerpts from interviews and other data will be separated into common themes that emerged and were then grouped by categories – Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid (safety and security, belongingness and love, self-esteem, and self-actualization) and social support network (emotional support, informational support, and material support, and collaboration). The perceptions of the Transitional Living Program participants and support staff will be used as recommendations for intervention programs.

Introduction

The Battered Woman Syndrome and the cycle of violence were first identified in the late 1970s in research conducted by psychoanalyst Lenore Walker and first reported in depth in her 1979 book, The Battered Woman. The Battered Woman Syndrome maintains that due to society’s traditions about how boys and girls are raised, and beliefs that people take into their relationships, women maintain an inferior position within the relationship and assume responsibility for making the relationship work (Dobash & Dobash, 1979). Examples of this socialization are found in social learning theory.

The concept of social learning evolved from an awareness that much learning takes place as a result of observing and imitating other people (Bandura & Walters, 1963). Social learning theory emphasizes the role of observation and imitation as means of learning new behaviors. For instance, as discussed in intergenerational theory, if children see their father beating or degrading their mother, then chances are greater that they will emulate that behavior when they become involved in a relationship.

Newman and Newman (2003) propose that changes in behavior can occur without being linked to a specific pattern of positive or negative reinforcement. They can also occur without numerous opportunities for trial-and-error practice. A person can watch someone perform a task or say a new expression and imitate that behavior accurately on the first try.

Social learning theory posits that family violence arises due to a constellation of contextual and situational factors (O’Leary, 1988). Key contextual factors include individual characteristics, couple characteristics, and societal characteristics. Examples of individual and couple characteristics are manifested in behaviors such as both the man and woman having low self-esteem; and the woman strongly believing in the family unit and the man believing in male supremacy.

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The woman may accept responsibility for the batterer’s actions while the man blames others for his actions. The man may show extreme jealousy. In order for him to feel secure, he may become over involved in the woman’s life and suspicious of her relationships with others. In turn, the woman may attempt to control people and events in her environment to keep the batterer from losing his temper (Carlton, 1995). Situational factors such as substance abuse or financial difficulties will lead to violence in the presence of the mentioned contextual factors.

Using the social learning perspective, Walker (1994) theorizes that some women accept their powerlessness in domestic battering situations due to gender-role socialization that induces a false belief that they cannot escape from the situation. The feeling of powerlessness may be reinforced by the “happy family” cultural stereotype as well, she suggested. Isolation from friends, family, and other victims allows the reality of the situation to be minimized while victims accept responsibility for the battering incidents. In this explanation, battering produces psychological paralysis that maintains the victim status. Economic and social factors contribute to victimization and to its continuance in this view.

Continuing the theme of social learning perspective, Walker (1979) theorizes that some women remained in physically, sexually, or psychologically abusive relationships because of extreme fear and the belief that there is no escape. Some women even blame themselves when something goes wrong (Walker, 1984; Carlton, 1995). These women can feel that they have no choice in the matter, being trapped in a cycle of fear and guilt.

During 1975 Walker collected over 120 detailed stories of battered women. The author also listened to fragments of over 300 more stories and dozens of helpers who had offered their services to battered women. The women came from all over the country, as well as from England, where Walker (1979) spent some time visiting refuges for battered women during the summer of 1976. Walker reported that this was a self-volunteered sample of women who were being abused by their current or former husbands or intimate partners. Walker accepted the woman’s story if she felt she was being psychologically and/or physically battered by her male partner. While listening to the taped interviews Walker also listened for incidents of coercive abuse.

According to Walker, the primary definition most researchers used for abuse is physical violence resulting in bodily injury. As battered women insisted that psychological abuse was often more harmful than the physical, Walker responded by collecting data on both physical and psychological coerciveness. The author found that both forms of violence exist in battering couples and could not be separated, despite the difficulty in documentation. To measure psychological abuse, Walker explained that the severity needed to be estimated with both frequency with which it occurs and the subjective impact it had upon the woman. The definition used in Walker’s (1979) research for battered women is as follows:

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A battered woman is a woman who is repeatedly subjected to any forceful physical or psychological behavior by a man in order to coerce her to do something he wants her to do without any concern for her rights. Battered women include wives or women in any form of intimate relationships with men. Furthermore, in order to be classified as a battered woman, the couple must go through the battering cycle at least twice. Any woman may find herself in an abusive relationship with a man once. If it occurs a second time, and she remains in the situation, she is defined as a battered woman, (p. xv).

Walker (1994) identified three distinct phases associated in a recurring battering cycle: Tension-building phase, acute battering phase, and loving-contrition (honeymoon) phase. During the tension-building phase, there is a gradual escalation of tension, causing increased friction such as name-calling, other hurtful behaviors, and/or physical abuse. The batterer expresses dissatisfaction and hostility but not in an extreme form. The woman attempts to calm down the batterer, doing what she thinks might please him, or at least what will not further aggravate him. She tries not to respond to his hostile actions and uses general anger reduction techniques.

Often she succeeds for a little while, which reinforces her unrealistic belief that she can control her partner. Participants in Walker’s (1994) research revealed that the tension continues to escalate until the woman is unable to continue controlling the batterer’s angry response pattern.

Walker further explained that exhaustion from the constant stress usually causes the woman to withdraw from the batterer, fearing she will inadvertently set off an explosion. He begins to move more oppressively toward her as he observes her withdrawal; tension between the two becomes unbearable and this usually (but not always) leads to battering. The acute battering phase, an uncontrollable release of the tension, becomes inevitable without intervention. Sometimes, the woman precipitates the inevitable explosion so as to control where and when it occurs, allowing her to take better precautions to minimize her injuries and pain.

The batterer usually explodes with verbal and physical aggression that can leave the woman shaken and injured. In fact, when injuries do occur it usually happens during this second phase. It is also the time police become involved, if they are called at all or when women make a decision to contact the battered women’s shelter. The acute battering phase is concluded when the batterer stops, usually bringing a reduction in physiological tension. This in itself is naturally reinforcing. Violence often succeeds because it works.

During the loving-contrition (honeymoon) phase the batterer may apologize profusely, try to assist his victim, show kindness and remorse, and shower her with gifts and promises. The batterer himself may believe at this point that he will never allow himself to be violent again. The woman wants to believe the batterer and, early in the relationship at least, may believe in his ability to change. This third phase proves the positive reinforcement for remaining in the relationship for the woman.

Walker’s research revealed that this phase could also be characterized by an absence of tension or violence, and no observable loving contrition behavior, and still be reinforcing. According to Woods (1992), the battering cycle usually starts out in the honeymoon phase, progresses to the tension building phase, escalates to the explosive phase and returns to the honeymoon stage again. Woods’ description of occurrences in each phase is consistent with Walker’s.

Walker asserts that the cycle of violence causes the victim to think less of herself, causes confusion that reduces her chances of planning escape, preoccupies her mind with self-blame, and causes her to believe that there is still hope that they can have a happy and fulfilling relationship together. Since this is what she has been conditioned to believe is most important, and what will make her complete, she is likely to jump at the chance to salvage the relationship.

In some instances the cycle of violence may be perpetuated because of the man’s need to maintain power and control over his wife or intimate partner and denial by both the man and woman that abuse is occurring in the relationship. The cycle is usually kept in motion by the man’s denial that his behavior is abusive and the woman’s denial that she is a victim of abuse. For instance, Hart (1990) reports that a batterer believes the following:

  1. that he is entitled to control his partner and that his partner is obligated to obey him;
  2. he is a moral person even if he uses violence against his partner;
  3. he will get what he wants through his use of violence;
  4. he will not suffer adverse physical, legal, economic, and personal consequences that outweigh the benefits achieved by his violence, (p. 5)

A woman may deny she is a victim of abuse if she witnessed parental violence as a child. Being isolated as a child in an abusive home, the woman may have never seen a non-abusive relationship. This can lead to seeing abuse as part of a relationship: “Their abusive childhoods condition them to accept abuse as normal. The men they pick often resemble their abusive parent” (Carlton, 1995, p. 84).

In one study of 1,600 battered women, Walker (1989) identified the battered women’s syndrome and the cycle of violence in two-thirds of the victims interviewed. Most of those interviewed expressed feelings of despair, helplessness, confusion, indecision, numbness, emotional relief upon sharing experiences, and finally hope that things would change. They described an inability to make decisions because they were so caught up in the cycle and their own attempts to change themselves.

After a woman has experienced the cycle of violence several times she often develops the battered woman syndrome, which surfaces as loss of hope and feeling unable to deal effectively with her situation. The Battered Woman Syndrome appears to explain the emotions involved that create the feelings of helplessness and dependence that keep a victim in an abusive relationship (Walker, 1984; Kanel 1999).

Kanel (1999) describes the battered woman syndrome as having three components: Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, learned helplessness, and self-destructive coping responses to violence. Kanel’s description of learned helplessness is most important for this study: after a woman unsuccessfully attempts to leave or get help, she learns to survive the battering rather than escape it. (pp. 182-183)

Experimental psychologist Martin Seligman is the originator of the learned helplessness theory, an area of research concerned with an early-response reinforcement and subsequent passive behavior. Seligman (1975) and his colleagues discovered that when laboratory dogs were repeatedly and non-contingently shocked, they became unable to escape from a painful situation, even when escape was possible and readily apparent to the dogs that had not undergone helplessness training. Seligman compared what he labeled learned helplessness to a kind of human depression and showed that this human depression had cognitive (learning, expectation, belief, perception), motivational (information about what will happen), and behavioral (towards what will happen) components.

The theoretical concept of learned helplessness was adapted for research by Lenore Walker to help explain why women who could develop such intricate and life-saving coping strategies, found it so difficult to escape a battering relationship. Walker (1979) found that others often failed to understand why abused women did not leave their relationships. The author explained that a battered woman’s perception of her own control over her situation has a great deal to do with it. Even if she were able to escape, if she believes that she cannot leave or cannot survive on her own, she will not leave.

Walker (2000) defines learned helplessness as “having lost the ability to predict that what you do will make a particular outcome occur” (p. 116). Walker (1979) explained that women who experience repeated physical assaults at the hands of their husbands have much lower self-concepts than women whose marriages are free from violence. The author postulates that the repeated beatings and lower self-concepts leave women with the feeling that they cannot control what will happen to them.

Dutton and Painter (1993) developed traumatic bonding theory that further explains the concept of learned helplessness—that is, why beaten women remain with the men who beat them. They have identified two features which they argue are common to all such relationships: the existence of a power imbalance within the relationship, so that the battered partner perceives herself as dominated by the other, and the intermittent nature of the abuse.

They hypothesize that over time, the power imbalance grows and as it does, the dominant person develops an inflated sense of his or her own power, while the subjugated partner feels more negative about herself and gradually becomes increasingly dependent on the dominator. Because the abuse occurs on an intermittent basis in the cycle of violence, and those interim periods during the honeymoon phase of the cycle are often characterized by positive behaviors such as attention and declarations of love and remorse, patterns of behavior result that are difficult to bring to an end. This loyalty, Loue (2001) explains, results from the victim’s identification with the aggressor as a means of fending off danger in a situation in which the victim is essentially powerless. That is, similar to the Stockholm syndrome, the victim praises the enemy for periods of relief from abuse.

These theories explain the victim’s emotional and psychological responses to intimate partner violence. The Cycle of Violence describes the dynamics of the relationship in the various stages of an abusive relationship. In each of the three phases of abusive episodes, we learn of the perpetrator’s dominant behaviors to maintain control in the relationship and the victim’s submissive responses to the behaviors. The description of the abusive behavior in the tension building phase shows the tactics used to attack the victim’s feeling of worthiness and pride, and helps explain why she would question her worthiness. Also, during this phase the victim uses her best effort to problem solve, attempting to pacify the abuser because her safety is threatened.

The victim’s physiological needs are at risk throughout the tension-building phase because of the stress of attempting to keep the abuser calm and the unpredictability of when or if violence will occur (the second phase of the cycle). If the battering phase occurs, the victim’s self-esteem continues to erode, her need for safety and security has been impacted, and the psychological stress continues. Additionally, stress affects the victim physically. If the victim remains in the relationship after the physical attack, the perpetrator may continue to dominate her with kindness and remorse (honeymoon phase). During the honeymoon phase (third phase of the cycle) the victim may feel a false sense of security, a temporary peace and relief from stress, and a sense of belonging and of being loved by the abuser.

The domination of the abuser in the three phases of the cycle of violence causes the victim’s self-esteem to be lowered, risk her safety, experience stress and loss of peace (physiological needs are jeopardized), and to hope for love and affection in the relationship. Throughout the relationship the victim’s need or request for affiliation with other members in her social circle may be denied or controlled by the abuser.

The Battered Woman Syndrome encompasses the social conditioning of the male and female and how this conditioning may influence the man’s dominate behavior and the woman’s submissive response to the man. The victim’s emotional and psychological responses during the abusive relationship and after surviving the abusive relationship are explained. These emotional and psychological responses are divided into three components by Kanel (1999), but common to all the elements is how the victims lost their peace, suffered from stress, developed a false sense of safety and security, questioned their worthiness to self and others, and lacked a connection to other individuals.

Learned Helplessness and Traumatic Bonding are psychological terms used to explain the victim’s emotional responses to the abuse when she attempts to escape from the abusive relationship without success. The unsuccessful escape is usually due to an inadequate response from external forces such as a social support network or lack of knowledge about how to obtain help. In some instances, the victim may perceive herself held in bondage out of fear or a temporary comfort derived from satisfaction of physiological, safety, security, affection, and esteem needs.

The long-term effects of victimization are guilt, depression, emotional dependence, a lowered sense of self-worth, self-doubt about their ability to care and protect themselves, and isolation. According to Dobash, Dobash, and Lewis (2000), the long-term effects of violence on the victim can cause considerable stress, fear, anger, resentment, and anxiety. Walker (1994) argues that women who experience humiliation, degradation, isolation, and continued threats sometimes report a sense of the loss of themselves-of the people they used to be.

The victim of partner abuse may become so overwhelmed by shame or guilt that she cannot acknowledge or discuss the abuse with anyone. She may not believe that she deserves help, relief from suffering, or any form of healing or recovery (Gosselin, 2000). Gosselin explains that an outgrowth of this belief is self-doubt about their ability to care for and protect themselves. Victims believe they are guilty and responsible for the violence. When they are treated as a worthless object, to be used and manipulated, they believe that’s what they deserve.

Walker (1994) explains that the effect of feeling guilty (self-blame) can result in an abuse victim creating a form of partial denial and minimization in which the victim acknowledges that the event occurred, but does not realize that it is improper or harmful. Sometimes this inability to recognize that an action is improper may be caused not only by the process of denial, but also by a genuine lack of knowledge that the acts in question constitute abuse.

Methods 1

Research Design

The researcher will utilize self-designed surveys as well as structured interviews as a means of assessing the feelings of the residents in local Transitional Living Programs. Data from these surveys and the interviews will be analyzed to describe how domestic violence affects the participant. Additionally, the needs of the participants will be assessed.

Participants

For the purposes of this study data will be collected from current and former clients of local domestic violence shelters. This will extend to transitional living programs and transitional living aftercare program respondents. The sample will be a purposive sample and will be based on the willingness of the participants to share the pertinent information and experiences in at least one of the five areas of self-reported abuse: physical, verbal, emotional, economic, and sexual.

Transitional Living Program sample

For the purpose of recruiting participants for the study, the researcher will attend three monthly house meetings routinely scheduled for the residents in the transitional living program participants during three consecutive months. During each of the house meetings the researcher will distribute a copy of the letter of introduction (Appendix A), a copy of the interview questions, and a copy of the consent to participate form (Appendix B) explaining the study.

The researcher will read the letter, the interview questions, and the consent to participate form to the participants and answer any questions the participants may have. After the researcher attends the third meeting, copies of the information packets will be given to the case managers and the transitional living aftercare coordinator to distribute to residents who were not in attendance at the meetings. The residents who attended the meetings will then be asked to enter their names into a drawing for participation in an interview where ten randomly selected participants will be chosen. The interviews will then be scheduled over the course of four days at a time that is convenient to each participant.

Transitional Living Aftercare Program Sample

The Transitional Living Aftercare Coordinator maintains a mailing list of clients with whom he/she continues to have an ongoing professional relationship. Due to confidentiality of client records, the researcher will solicit the help of the Aftercare Coordinator to mail information packets to the participants. In the spirit of maintaining client trust and confidentiality, the letter will be drafted by the researcher but signed by the Aftercare Coordinator. The Aftercare Coordinator will also address the envelopes containing the information and mailed the packets to the clients residing in the local area.

The information packet will include a letter (Appendix C) introducing the investigator, an explanation of the study, the dates the interviews will take place, the location of the interview site, and the Aftercare Coordinator’s telephone number to call if they questions arise. The information packet will also include a copy of the interview questions and a copy of the consent to participate form that elaborated on the purpose and procedure for the study. Clients will be given a one week deadline to respond to the investigator’s letter. Respondents’ names and telephone numbers will be added to a list as the clients are called. This list will be maintained by the Aftercare Coordinator.

Support Staff Sample

The staff participants will consist of the individuals who are responsible for providing direct services to women who are currently participating or who have formerly participated in any of the programs offered within the local shelter system. The researcher will contact the staff within the local shelters and explain the scope and ramifications of the study being conducted. The researcher will give the participants letters (Appendix D) introducing the study and as well as the researcher, a consent to participate form (Appendix E) explaining the study, and a copy of the semi-structured interview questions. Interviews with the staff who elect to participate will then be scheduled.

Permission to perform this study will be contingent on the approval of the individual domestic violence shelters as well as the transitional living programs and transitional after care programs.

Instrumentation

The researcher will utilize self-developed questionnaires and interviews as a means of assessing the effects of domestic violence on the individual participants as well as the needs of those survivors. The literature review served as a guiding factor for the development of the questionnaires and interview questions

Reliability and Validity

In order to assure both the reliability and validity of this instrument, the researcher will consult with the available experts in the field as well as the literature on the subject. These experts include the shelter directors and staff as well as professionals within the academic institution.

Data Analysis

The researcher will analyze the data collected from the questionnaires, interviews of program participants and providers, field notes, and archival information by identifying and classifying common themes. Excerpts from interviews will be separated into common themes and grouped by categories – Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid (safety and security, belongingness and love, self-esteem, and self-actualization) and social support network (collaboration, emotional support, informational support, and material support).

Maslow’s (1970) definition for each hierarchal need was used to classify the above mentioned themes. A social support behavior inventory developed by Duck (1990) was modified and used to identify themes for social support. Duck’s three classes of support include brief definitions of support intended-behavior codes for each classification. The term ‘material aid’ was borrowed from Wasserman and Galaskiewicz (1994) and adapted to read material support and used to classify needs such as financial resources, child care, and transportation. Network analysis, social support theory, and Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs were used to analyze the data.

Methods 2

Research Design

The researcher will utilize surveys as a means of assessing the feelings of the residents in local Transitional Living Programs. Data from these surveys will be analyzed to describe how domestic violence affects the participant. Additionally, the needs of the participants will be assessed.

Participants

A purposive sampling will be used to survey the participants of local Transitional Living Programs located in the varying city owned and operated shelters. The surveys will be mailed or delivered to the locations. In the cases where they will be mailed, the researcher will include stamped self-addressed envelopes for returning the survey. In the cases where they were delivered, the research will return to collect them.

Instrumentation

The only instrumentation utilized in this study will be the Abuse Disability Questionnaire designed by Dr. Sheri Bauman, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. This is a self-report paper-and-pencil screening instrument designed to assess the level of impairment present in adult female domestic violence survivors as a direct result of domestic abuse. It is a clinically based instrument which operates on a five point likert scale with choices ranging from 0 (none) to 4 (excessive) and contains thirty (30) statements.

Instrument Reliability and validity

Reliability data are reported in the manual and is derived from two different samples of shelter participants. Internal consistency (alpha) values for the total Impairment scores indicate a very reliable test instrument (.88 and.93).

Although the validity was reported in the test documentation, all studies were conducted by the scale’s designer and the same data was utilized for both the development of the scale and reliability studies. This scale reports correlations between Total Impairment and Abuse Exposure scores in two samples, a negative correlation was found with self-esteem, and positive correlation with depression.

Results

This case study will introduce the reader to a healing community of several survivors of domestic violence and intimate partner violence who are participating in local Transitional Living Programs or Transitional Living Aftercare Programs. These women and their children reside in a secured apartment building located in a culturally diverse urban neighborhood in and surrounded by other apartment buildings, small businesses, churches, schools, community outreach sites, and grocery stores.

Based on interview responses, the researcher will assess the characteristics that these women share. Based on the reviewed literature, these characteristics should include courage, strength, resiliency, a desire to provide emotional support for one another and their children, a desire to become attentive parents, and a desire for self improvement, whether that improvement is physical, mental, economic, or academic. Additionally, the researcher hopes to utilize this information as a means making recommendations aimed at assuring the needs of the survivors serviced by local public shelters are met.

Discussion

The research feels that the methods delineated in Methods 1 proves to be most adequate for this body of research. This belief is held despite the fact that quantitative methods offer a wider range of potential for analysis and making inferences based on that analysis. Researchers in the field of qualitative studies have concluded that focusing on individuals’ personal experiences and the explanations offered to make sense of their world are valuable tools in grasping the complexity of human behavior. The intent of the present study is to gain an understanding from the perspective of the residents of the Transitional Living program as well as the staff.

These realities could be historical, as well as psychosocial in nature and their interrelatedness constitutes a whole. Additionally, other factors influence individuals’ perception and understanding of their world. These perceptions and understandings need to be translated in a scientifically meaningful way.

Finally, events shape each other; consequently, this process adds to the complexity of human behavior. As stated earlier, the research method chosen for this study is qualitative in nature, because its intended purpose was to construct knowledge regarding the needs of women within the Transitional Living Program. More specifically, the researcher, using qualitative methods of questionnaires, interviewing and data analysis, attempted to capture the effects of domestic violence and the needs of women when transitioning from domestically violent situations which result in stays in Transitional Living Programs.

Statement of Problem

This study investigates what constitutes survival skills and a supportive living environment from the perspective of the Transitional Living Program participants and the support staff of local domestic violence shelters. Research questions that guided this investigation are the following:

  1. What survival skills do you need to live independent (self-sufficient, free) from an abusive relationship? And
  2. what does a supportive (encouraging, caring, helpful, accommodating) living environment mean to you in a transitional living environment?

Context of the Problem

There needs to be greater intervention strategies for abused women participating in a transitional living program. “Battered women in crisis who are contemplating leaving the violent relationship are confronted by internal and external barriers” (Roberts, 2002, p. 374). To address external barriers recent legislation, policy reforms, and federal funding initiatives have resulted in the increased funding for transitional housing, job training, and concrete services for battered women. According to Roberts these changes are not enough.

Carlson (1997) supports Roberts’ argument, adding that there are “four internal barriers that often keep the battered women trapped in a recurring pattern of acute crisis episodes: low self-esteem, shame and self-blame for the abuse, poor coping skills; and passivity, depression, and learned helplessness” (p. 292). In response to the research questions about necessary survival skills and the characteristics of a supportive environment, themes that emerged from the literature revealed a need for a network of group support to feel connected to others; and social support that encompasses emotional, informational, and material support, and love.

Roberts’ findings show that “feeling inadequate and having low self-esteem have the potential to interfere with a woman’s ability to make decisions or to present herself in the best light when dealing with agency representatives or employers (p. 412).” Additionally, the author’s findings suggest that low self-esteem, social isolation, and depression make it more difficult for women to deal effectively with new housing related issues, finances, their children’s school-related issues, and their ex-partners.

If transitional living program participants’ internal barriers are not actively addressed by advocates, these women leave the transitional living program with their personal growth limited, particularly in terms of attaining permanent housing, improved job situation, or academic education. That is, the women participating in the transitional living program leave with the same internal barriers they brought to the program.

Focus of This Study

Transitional housing programs can play a vital role in providing the essential services needed to develop a sense of independence and autonomy in women so that they can freely choose whether they want to stay in an abusive relationship. Generalizing a concept borrowed from Benard (2004), if survivors are given the opportunity to give voice to their realities and tell their “stories,” to discuss their experiences, beliefs, attitudes and feelings, and encouraged to critically question societal messages—both those from the media and their own conditioning—then we (advocates) are empowering them to be critical thinkers and decision makers about the important concerns in their lives.

To this end, the researcher will examine the qualitative data collected from classroom and program observations at the Transitional Living Program sites, interviews of Transitional Living Program participants and program providers, field notes, and archival information to analyze and describe activities currently existing that contribute to the development of survival skills and a supportive environment; and describe additional intervention programs that are needed from the perspective of all participants in this study.

Excerpts from interviews and other data will be separated into common themes that emerged and were then grouped by categories – Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid (safety and security, belongingness and love, self-esteem, and self-actualization) and social support network (emotional support, informational support, and material support, and collaboration).

Significance of Study

The purpose of this qualitative research was to understand necessary survivals skills for abused women and the characteristics of a supportive environment in a transitional living environment from the perspective of formerly abused women participating in the Transitional Living Programs and from the perspective of the support staff who provide direct services so that intervention strategies can be enhanced. The literature reviewed suggests that a comprehensive transitional living program should include intervention curricula that attend to mental health needs and life skills to increase survivors’ (women and children) chances of remaining resilient.

References

Bandura, A. & Walters, R. H. (1963). Social Learning and personality development. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Benard, B. (2004). Resiliency: What we have learned. San Francisco: West Ed.

Carlson, B. E. (1997). A stress and coping approach to intervention with abuse women. Family Relations, 46, 291-298.

Carlton, J. (1995). Victim no more: Your guide to overcome revictimization. Tulsa, OK: Stonehorse Press.

Dobash, R. and Dobash, R. (1979). Violence against wives. New York, NY: MacMiUan Publishing Company.

Dobash, R.E., Dobash, R.P. and Lewis, R. (2000). Changing violent men. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Duck, S. and Silver, R. C. (1990). Personal relationships and social support. London, Newbury Park: Sage Publications.

Dutton, D. G. & Painter, S. L. (1993). Emotional attachments in abusive relationships: A test of traumatic bonding theory. Violence and Victims, 8, 105-120.

Gosselin, D. K. (2000). Heavy hands: An introduction to the crimes of domestic violence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Hart, B. (1986). Lesbian Battering: An Examination. In Naming the violence: Speaking out about lesbian battering; ed. K. Lobel, 173-189. Seattle, Washington: Seal Press.

Kanel, K. (1999). A guide to crisis intervention. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.

Loue, S. (2001). Intimate partner violence. Societal, medical, legal, and individual responses. New York, NY: Kluwer Academic//Plenum Publishers.

Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper and Row Publishers.

Newman, B. M. & Newman, P. R. (2003). Development through life: A psychosocial approach. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

O’Leary, K. D. (1988). Physical Aggression between Spouses: A Social Learning Theory Perspective. In Handbook of family violence; eds. V. B. Van Hasselt, R. L. Morrison, A. S. Bellack, and M. Hersen, 31-55. New York, NY: Plenum Press.

Roberts, A. R. (2002). Handbook of domestic violence intervention strategies: Policies, programs, and Legal remedies. New York: Oxford University Press.

Seligman, M. E. (1975). Helplessness: On depression, development, and death. San Francisco, CA: W. H. Freeman.

Walker, L. E. A. (2002). Feminist ethics, boundary crossings, dual relationships, and victims. New York: Springer. Walker, L. E. (2000). The battered woman syndrome. New York: Springer Publishing Co.

Walker, L. E. (1994). Abused women and survivor therapy: A practical guide for the psychotherapist. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Walker, L. E. (1989). Terrifying love. New York, NY: Harper and Row Publishers, Incorporated.

Walker, L. E. (1984). The battered woman syndrome. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.

Walker, L. E. (1979). The battered woman. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Wasserman, S. and Galaskiewicz, J. (1994). Advances in social network analysis: Research in the social and behavior sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Appendix A

Dear Transitional Living Program Resident,

I am a student at the ____________________ pursuing a doctorate of __________________________. My interest is in community leadership focusing on family violence prevention. As a final degree requirement I am writing a case study about the programs and services available to survivors of intimate partner violence/domestic violence and participants resided in local transitional living programs and aftercare program.

In order to fulfill my degree requirements I need your help in learning about the programs and services from your point of view. Your identity will remain confidential but results of your interview will be published as a partial fulfillment of my degree requirements.

Attached are a copy of the interview questions I will use during our tape-recorded interview and a copy of the consent to participate in a research study form describing the study and your rights as a participant. If you are interested in being one of five participants selected for the study, your name will be placed in a basket where I will randomly select five names.

I will return to Transitional Living Program the following week for a private interview. Private interviews will be scheduled in the Transitional Living Program II lounge every hour beginning at 5:00 p.m. and no later than 8:00 p.m. on the days that childcare activities are routinely planned.

By participating in this study you will be helping intimate partner violence/domestic violence advocates like me who are interested in providing programs and services essential for your survival in an abuse free environment.

Thank you,

____________________

Appendix B

Consent to Participate in a Research Study

Title of Study

Transitional Living Program’s Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and Staff Members’ Perception of Survival Skills and a Supportive Living Environment

Introduction

Before you agree to participate in this study, it is important that you read this consent form and understand the purpose, procedures, risks, and benefits of the study as well as your right to withdraw from the study at any time. Please note that no guarantee or assurance can be made as to the results of the study.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate what a supportive living environment is from a survivor of intimate partner violence point of view and the YWCA Transitional Living Program staff’s perspective.

Duration and Procedures

I will observe General Educational Development (GED) certificate program, the Life Skills, and Childcare Center during the designated time for each program for approximately five (5) days. After the five (5) day observation period, I will ask you to participate in a structured tape-recorded interview where you will be asked questions about what aspects of the programs you manage are working and what is needed to make the programs you manage more efficient or valuable to survivors of intimate partner violence/domestic violence; what your definition is of a supportive living environment for women and their children participating in the Transitional Living Program; what do you do to contribute to a supportive living environment; what specifically does the program you manage contribute to a supportive living environment; what is your definition of survival skills unique to victims of domestic violence/intimate partner violence; and, how do you contribute to the goals of the shelter services for domestic violence/intimate partner violence. The interview will last no more than one hour. The interview will be conducted at your program site on a day and at a time convenient for you.

Risks/Discomforts

There are no anticipated risks associated with this study.

Benefits

You will receive no direct benefit from your participation in this study, but your participation will assist intimate partner violence/domestic violence advocates in recognizing essential and possibly overlooked resources required for survivors of intimate partner violence/ domestic violence to continue to live in an abusive free environment.

Confidentiality

Individual information will not be shared with the service agencies, however, my advisor for the research project may need to read my observation field notes, interview transcripts or listen to your tape recorded interview if I need assistance writing about the study. The data from the study will be published and may be presented at conferences; however, you will not be identified by name. To further ensure confidentiality, all field notes, and audiotapes and interview transcripts will be stored in a locked file cabinet and destroyed after the study is completed.

Participant’s right to refuse or withdraw

Your participation is strictly voluntary. You may refuse to participate or may discontinue participation AT ANY TIME without penalty. I have the right to withdraw you from the study AT ANY TIME. Your withdrawal from the study may be for reasons related solely to you (for example, for not following my study-related directions) or because the entire study has been terminated.

Offer to answer questions

If you have any other questions about this study, you may call me, _______________ at _______________________.

Legal Rights

Nothing in this consent form waives any legal right you may have nor does it release the investigator, the institution, or its agents from liability for negligence.

I Have Read the Information Provided Above. I Voluntarily Agree to Participate in This Study. I Will Receive a Copy of This Consent Form for My Information.

_________________________________________ ______________________

Participant Signature Date

_________________________________________ ______________________

Signature and Title of Person Obtaining Consent Date

Appendix C

Date

Dear Transitional Living Program Aftercare Participant,

I am a student at ________________________ pursuing a doctorate ______________________. My interest is in community leadership focusing on family violence prevention. As a final degree requirement I am writing a case study about the programs and services available to survivors of intimate partner violence/domestic violence and participants in the Transitional Living Program and the Transitional Living Aftercare Program.

In order to fulfill my degree requirements I need your help in learning about the programs and services from your point of view. Your identity will remain confidential but results of your interview will be published as a partial fulfillment of my degree requirements.

If you are interested in being one of the participants in the study, please join me on

________________________________@ time in the _________________lounge for an orientation. During the orientation I will review the enclosed consent to participate in a research study form and answer your questions. I have also enclosed a copy of the interview questions I will use for our tape-recorded interview. If you feel you would still like to participate in the study after I review the procedures and the interview questions, your name will be placed in a basket where I will randomly select five names during the orientation. You will have an opportunity to schedule an appointment to schedule an appointment for the following week.

By participating in this study you will be helping intimate partner violence/domestic violence advocates like me who are interested in providing programs and services essential for your survival in an abuse free environment.

Thank you,

_____________________

Appendix D

Date

Dear Transitional Living Program Resident,

I am a student at __________________________ pursuing a _________________________. My interest is in community leadership focusing on family violence prevention. As a final degree requirement I am writing a case study about the programs and services available to survivors of intimate partner violence/domestic violence and participants in the Transitional Living Program.

In order to fulfill my degree requirements I need your help in learning about the programs and services from your point of view. Your identity will remain confidential but results of your interview will be published as a partial fulfillment of my degree requirements.

Attached are a copy of the interview questions I will use during our tape-recorded interview and a copy of the consent to participate in a research study form describing the study and your rights as a participant. If you are interested in being a participant for the study, I will return to the

next week (Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.) on a day and time

that is convenient for you. Private interviews will be held in the kitchen.

By participating in this study you will be helping intimate partner violence/domestic violence advocates like me who are interested in providing programs and services that are essential for survivors of intimate partner violence/domestic violence to continue living in an abuse free environment.

Thank you,

____________________

Appendix E

Date

Dear ________________,

I am a student at _____________________ pursuing a ___________________________. My interest is in community leadership focusing on family violence prevention. As a final degree requirement I am writing a case study about the programs and services available to survivors of intimate partner violence/domestic violence and participants in the Transitional Living Program.

In order to fulfill my degree requirements I need your help in learning about the programs and services from your point of view. Your identity will remain confidential but results of your interview will be published as a partial fulfillment of my degree requirements.

Attached are a copy of the interview questions I will use and a copy of a consent to participate in research study form describing the study and your rights as a participant. I will call to schedule an interview for a day and time convenient for you.

By participating in this study you will be helping other intimate partner violence/domestic violence advocates like me who are interested in providing programs and services essential for survivors of intimate partner violence/domestic violence to continue to live their life free from abuse.

Thank you,

___________________

Appendix F

Consent to Participate in a Research Study

Title of Study

Transitional Living Program’s Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and Staff Members’ Perception of Survival Skills and a Supportive Living Environment

Introduction

Before you agree to participate in this study, it is important that you read this consent form and understand the purpose, procedures, risks, and benefits of the study as well as your right to withdraw from the study at any time. Please note that no guarantee or assurance can be made as to the results of the study.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to investigate what a supportive living environment is from a survivor of intimate partner violence point of view and the Transitional Living Program staff’s perspective.

Duration and Procedures

I will also observe the General Educational Development (GED) program, Life Skills, and Childcare Center during the designated time for each program for approximately (five) 5 days. After the five (5) day observation period, I will ask you to participate in a structured tape-recorded interview where you will be asked questions about what aspects of the programs you manage are working and what is needed to make the programs you manage more efficient or valuable to survivors of intimate partner violence/domestic violence; what your definition is of a supportive living environment for women and their children participating in Transitional Living Program; what do you do to contribute to a supportive living environment; what specifically does the program you manage contribute to a supportive living environment; what is your definition of survival skills unique to victims of domestic violence/intimate partner violence; and, how do you contribute to the goals of the services for domestic violence/intimate partner violence. The interview will not last more than one hour. The interview will be conducted at your program site on a day and at a time convenient for you.

Risks/Discomforts

There are no anticipated risks associated with this study.

Benefits

You will receive no direct benefit from your participation in this study, but your participation will assist intimate partner violence/domestic violence advocates in recognizing essential and possibly overlooked resources required for survivors of intimate partner violence/ domestic violence to continue to live in an abusive free environment.

Confidentiality

Individual information will not be shared with the service agency, however, my advisor for the research project may need to read my interview transcripts or listen to your tape recorded interview if I need assistance writing about the study. Although individual information will not be shared with the agency, your responses may be identifiable due to the small number of staff participants in your program.

The data from the study will be published and may be presented at conferences; however, you will not be identified by name. To further guarantee confidentiality, all field notes, and audiotapes and interview transcripts will be stored in a locked file cabinet and destroyed after the study is completed.

Participant’s right to refuse or withdraw

Your participation is strictly voluntary. You may refuse to participate or may stop participating AT ANY TIME without penalty. I have the right to ask you to stop participating in the study AT ANY TIME. Your withdrawal from the study may be for reasons related only to you (for example, for not following my study-related directions) or because the entire study has been terminated.

Offer to answer questions

If you have any other questions about this study, you may call me, ______________, at ___________________.

Legal Rights

Nothing in this consent form waives any legal right you may have nor does it release the investigator, the institution, or its agents from liability for negligence.

I Have Read the Information Provided Above. I Voluntarily Agree to Participate in This Study. I Will Receive a Copy of This Consent Form for My Information.

_________________________________________ ______________________

Participant Signature Date

_________________________________________ ______________________

Signature and Title of Person Obtaining Consent Date.

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