Student Research - Vanessa Brown

Vanessa Brown, MSW Student, summarizes her current work with Professor Ric Munoz: Qualitative Analysis of the Relationship Between Empowerment and Hope for Safety Among Victims of Intimate Partner Violence.

In an effort to move research with victims of IPV from depressive symptomatology onto psychological strengths this study explored the relationship between empowerment and hope as measured through subjective perceptions of control of victims of IPV. Empowerment theory states that individuals must perceive control of important aspects of their life to achieve optimum functioning (Perkins & Zimmerman, 1995); while hope construct is an important predictor of optimum functioning where an individual’s higher levels of hope predicts their engagement in behaviors associated with pursuit of their goals (Snyder, et al, 1991). Our hypothesis was that perceptions of internal locus of control (ILOC) would provide an indicator of hope for safety from IPV over and above other perceptions of safety such as powerful others (POLOC) or chance locus of control (CLOC). With this separation of the dimensions of locus of control (ILOC, POLOC, & CLOC) questionnaires utilizing Likert scale questions to measure subjective perceptions of control were distributed to IPV victims in an emergency shelter. The results confirmed our hypothesis that ILOC was a higher indicator for predicting hope among victims. Further through these results we were able to make the argument that based on these results interventions which would increase perceptions of ILOC would result in greater hope and in turn motivation for IPV victims to seek and achieve safety from violence.

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