City Research Online

Growth after intimate partner violence

Khan, S. (2020). Growth after intimate partner violence. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Post-traumatic growth (PTG) has been documented extensively for trauma survivors; yet research on growth after intimate partner violence (IPV) remains very limited. Survivor experiences of growth post separation and in longer term recovery are unclear. Components linked to well-being after trauma have included retaining rational beliefs, increased levels of self-compassion and engagement with the reflecting aspect of rumination. In a convergent mixed methods design, female IPV survivors (N=11) answered measures on these constructs including the post-traumatic growth inventory (PTGI) and then participated in semi-structured interviews to consider how rumination, beliefs and self-compassion may have related to any reported PTG. Measure outcomes and thematic analysis were analysed separately and then combined to better understand participant growth experiences. Moderate to high levels of growth were reported by the women across both methodologies. Post-trauma changes were paradoxical in PTGI domains of relating to others and with experiences of spirituality. There was a significant negative correlation between growth and rumination where those that reported ruminating less reported more growth. Participants described facing high levels of rumination and distress after separation where their values were altered, abandoned or strengthened. Exposure and to other survivors and new environments proved crucial in PTG development where new scripts and beliefs could be accessed. For these women in later recovery, higher levels of growth was strongly related to lower levels of continued rumination and somewhat related to higher levels of self-compassion. Rumination that continued was distressing and self-compassion was reported to be instrumental in recovery. Approaching IPV survivors in Herman’s phase-based trauma recovery model that is open to the possibility of growth, and includes both systemic and feminist understandings, compassionate mindfulness and griefwork has been advocated as supporting recovery.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
[thumbnail of Khan, Saira_PhD thesis_MAY 2020 REDACTED docx_Redacted.pdf]
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