The study will be among the first in the U.S. to obtain personal narratives from adolescents who have been exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV), and among the first to closely examine their coping self-efficacy and immediate situational coping responses. Coping self-efficacy has been found to mediate psychological adjustment in other trauma-exposed population. Findings may indicate whether coping and coping self-efficacy are promising intervention targets. The detailed narratives may suggest other influential variables for future study.
The need for empirical guidance for practitioners in this area is acute, and the complexity involved in conducting research with 12-14 year-olds exposed to IPV requires unique skills. The applicant has extensive research training, most of it specific to child maltreatment, and a wealth of social work practice experience. Her doctoral student experiences have laid the foundation for the dissertation and illustrate dedication to advancing research and practice. She has addressed the urgent need for dissemination of research via national presentations, publications, and ongoing relationships with community organizations. The breadth of her social work practice experience with adult and child victims of IPV in diverse settings facilitates her ability to synthesize the academic literature in this area emerging from disparate fields and philosophical standpoints and to conduct the dissertation research.
The dissertation will serve as the foundation for the long term goal of identifying effective practice interventions for the high-risk, under-researched population of children and adolescents exposed to adult IPV. The resilience framework increases the likelihood that protective factors in the environment and character strengths in individuals will be identified, and that the research will be meaningful for practitioners.