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Ethnocultural Influences on Women's Experience of and Responses to Intimate Partner Violence

NCJ Number
Mindy Mechanic; Courtney Ahrens
Date Published
April 2018
18 pages
This study examined the ways in which cultural beliefs and contexts serve as a lens through which European-American, Mexican-American, Korean-American, and Vietnamese-American women experience and respond to intimate partner violence (IPV).
Overall, the findings showed few ethnic differences in women's experiences of abuse or mental health outcomes linked with abuse. Vietnamese-American survivors were less likely to be represented in the "Widespread Violence" group and were less likely to describe physical violence in the qualitative interviews; however, caution should be used in interpreting this finding due to the low sample size and convenience sampling method of recruitment. It is possible that the Vietnamese-American survivors in the sample were less likely to disclose to the criminal justice system and cited more barriers to leaving because the abuse they were experiencing was less severe, not because of Vietnamese cultural values. Future research with Vietnamese-American survivors who are experiencing a wider range of abusive experiences is needed before final conclusions about ethnic differences can be made. Future research that uses more rigorous sampling techniques is needed before true ethnic comparisons of abuse prevalence can be made. In the current study, community-based recruitment procedures were used to recruit women from the four target ethnicities. Screening required that respondents were afraid of their partners or had experienced physical or sexual abuse from an intimate partner in the past 5 years. Other recruitment procedures invited women to participate in an online survey about relationship conflicts. A $20 gift certificate was provided for participation. A total of 123 participants completed an interview. Service providers who interact with IPV survivors in their work were also recruited to participate in focus groups about barriers and solutions for working with survivors from each of the ethnic groups.