Protective Factors associated with Resilience in Women Exposed to Intimate Partner Violence. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: Research on adversity is often skewed toward assessing problematic functioning; yet many women display resilience following traumatic experiences. Examining individual, relational, community, and cultural variables can provide new knowledge about protective factors associated with resilience in women exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). Controlling for demographics and circumstances of the violence, this study evaluated predictors of resilience, including spirituality, social support, community cohesion, and ethnic identity. METHOD: The sample consisted of 112 women (Mage =32.12, SD=5.78) exposed to physical, psychological, and/or sexual intimate partner violence in the past 6 months. Approximately 70% of participants were Black. Hierarchical linear regression modeling was conducted to examine factors related to resilience. Model 1 included demographics (age, education, and socioeconomic status) and stressful life experiences. Model 2 added circumstances of the violence: IPV severity, IPV perpetration by participant, and number of violent partners. The third and final model added spirituality, social support, community cohesion, and ethnic identity. RESULTS: The final model was significant, F(11, 97)=6.63; p<.001, adj. R2 =36.5%; with greater social support (=.24; p=.009), more spirituality (=.28; p=.002), and fewer violent relationships (= -.25; p=.003) predicting higher resilience among women exposed to IPV. CONCLUSION: While risk factors associated with IPV are well-researched, little is known about factors related to resilient functioning, especially among minority populations. Knowledge gained from this study can advance the field of violence research by its identification of potentially mutable variables related to resilience. Such research could be applied to developing strength-based interventions for at-risk populations of violence-exposed women.

published proceedings

  • Psychol Violence

author list (cited authors)

  • Howell, K. H., Thurston, I. B., Schwartz, L. E., Jamison, L. E., & Hasselle, A. J.

citation count

  • 65

complete list of authors

  • Howell, Kathryn H||Thurston, Idia B||Schwartz, Laura E||Jamison, Lacy E||Hasselle, Amanda J

publication date

  • July 2018