Student Research - Kara Brunk

Kara Brunk, MSW student, shares about her research as presented at the 33rd Annual Oklahoma Council on Family Relations Conference.

Research has found that people with higher levels of hope are able to identify and engage in multiple avenues toward their goals. Moreover, life satisfaction is considered the cognitive component of what we colloquially call “happiness”. Consequently, higher hope is associated with greater instances of positive outcomes (Avey, Wernsung, & Mhatre, 2011). For example, those with higher hope experience greater subjective well-being and life satisfaction (Baily, Eng, Fisch, & Snyder, 2007; Chang & DeSimone, 2001), feel more self-worth (Curry, Snyder, Cook, Ruby & Rehm, 1997), find life more meaningful (Feldman & Snyder, 2005), and have fewer negative thoughts, less depression, and less anxiety (Snyder et. al., 1991; Chang & DeSimone, 2001). Despite extensive research on hope, however, very little has been done with samples drawn from victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). Therefore, we sought to test the impact of a stay at a shelter, for a minimum of 2 weeks, on hope and life satisfaction. All participants received holistic support from the shelter. We used a pretest/posttest design, measuring the outcome before and after shelter intervention. Our results indicate that a stay in an emergency IPV shelter increases hope and life-satisfaction. This increase suggests that incorporating interventions influenced by hope theory may further improve psychological outcomes for IPV victims.

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