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Title:Managing secrecy and disclosure of domestic violence in affluent communities: a grounded theory ethnography
Author(s):Haselschwerdt, Megan
Director of Research:Hardesty, Jennifer L.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hardesty, Jennifer L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Caughlin, John P.; Jarrett, Robin L.; Oswald, Ramona F.
Department / Program:Human & Community Development
Discipline:Human & Community Development
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Domestic Violence
Affluent Families
Social Support
Grounded Theory
Abstract:Although it is widely acknowledged that domestic violence (DV) cuts across all groups of women, there is scant research on affluent women’s experiences with DV. Using grounded theory and ethnographic approaches, the present study examined how affluent mothers managed secrecy and disclosure of DV in the context of their community. Data consisted of neighborhood observations, in-depth interviews with abused mothers and social service providers, and a focus group interview with high school students, all of which took place in one affluent community in the Midwest. Abusive husbands’ degree of power and status in the community was identified as the central category that shaped how abused mothers managed secrecy and disclosure during and after their marriage. Namely, husbands’ degree of power and status appeared to relate to mothers’ internalization of the culture of affluence, their interactions with informal and formal networks, and how those networks responded to mothers’ disclosures. Informed by community social organization, communication privacy management, and postmodern feminist theories, the resulting grounded theory demonstrates that this process operates within gendered and class-ordered power dynamics, is rife with negotiations to conceal and reveal DV that are nonlinear and simultaneously occurring, and is continuously influenced by informal and formal support networks that act to uphold pervasive cultural norms about community, families, and DV. Results have implications for professional training and education around DV services and advocacy, theory and research on secrecy and disclosure as a process, and efforts to build community capacity and a sense of community as they relate to community responses to DV.
Issue Date:2013-06-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Megan L. Haselschwerdt
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-06-12
Date Deposited:2013-05

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