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Leaving an abusive partner: exploring mothers’ perceptions of boundary ambiguity using the stages of change model

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Title: Leaving an abusive partner: exploring mothers’ perceptions of boundary ambiguity using the stages of change model
Author(s): Khaw, Lyndal Bee Lian
Director of Research: Hardesty, Jennifer L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Hardesty, Jennifer L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Oswald, Ramona F.; Jarrett, Robin L.; Burke, Jessica G.
Department / Program: Human & Community Development
Discipline: Human & Community Development
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): boundary ambiguity family stress theory intimate partner violence process of leaving an abusive partner Stages of Change Model
Abstract: The Stages of Change Model has been used by researchers and practitioners to explore women’s process of leaving an abusive partner. However, the utility of the model is limited because it does not account for the changes in relational boundaries unique to the process of leaving. Using a feminist perspective and family stress theory as guiding frameworks, the current study sought to expand the strength-based Stages of Change Model to include the potential influence of boundary ambiguity on women’s process of leaving. In-depth interviews were conducted with 25 abused mothers who had temporarily or permanently left an abusive partner. Data were collected and analyzed using grounded theory methods. Results identified various types and indicators (or evidence) of boundary ambiguity in different stages of change. For most mothers in this study, fluctuations between being psychologically present and absent kept them in and out of their relationships over multiple separations, suggesting the dual influence of boundary ambiguity as a barrier and facilitator to change. Overall, the integration of boundary ambiguity into the Stages of Change Model addresses current limitations of the model and further highlights the process of leaving as a systemic, fluid and nonlinear process. Results also illustrated the importance of psychologically and physically separating from an abusive partner in maintaining separation and achieving boundary clarity. The results have important implications for research, theory development and practice with abused mothers.
Issue Date: 2010-05-19
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/16051
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Lyndal Bee Lian Khaw
Date Available in IDEALS: 2010-05-19
Date Deposited: May 2010
 

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