Date of Conferral





Public Health


Richard Jimenez


Intimate partner violence [IPV] is a preventable and costly societal issue that has reached epidemic proportions. Women are often the victims of IPV, and millions of children are exposed to it annually. The purpose of this study was to explore experiences of Puerto Rican mothers and their perceptions of how IPV exposure may have impacted their children using resilience theory. Data were collected via audiotaped individual interviews with 9 Puerto Rican mothers who endured an array of escalating IPV, often exacerbated by the perpetrators use of alcohol or drugs, and had IPV-exposed children aged 6 -11 years. Data analysis integrated content and thematic procedures. Interview data was transcribed, read, audited and coded based on compelling statements, quotes, and sentences made by the participants. The coded clusters were further evaluated, reduced to significant statements, then grouped into themes that captured the essence of the participants lived experiences and of the group. The mothers separated because they feared for their lives and the effect of IPV on the children. Once separated the mothers felt isolated, lived in shelters which were unconducive to childrearing, and had challenges navigating the system. They perceived their IPV-exposed children exhibited a multitude of behaviors including PTSD but that most were showing signs of resilience. Their IPV was perpetrated by males who were mostly the biological fathers of their children who used controlling behaviors towards the kids. The potential positive social change impact of this study is to empower Puerto Rican mothers to disclose IPV and to better inform health care providers regarding the impact of IPV on children aged 6 -11 years in an effort to increase the health, well-being, and resiliency of this vulnerable population.