Date of Conferral







Brandy Benson


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a widespread problem that impacts 5.3 million women annually in the United States, and African American women experience IPV at a 35% rate higher than Caucasian women and 2.5 times higher than other races. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine the treatment barriers confronted by African American women in past abusive relationships. This research addressed the extent to which IPV affected African American women regarding the challenges resulting from IPV, the relevant impacts, and the treatment barriers. The ecological systems theory developed by Bronfenbrenner in 1979 was used as the theoretical basis for this study. One-on-one interviews were used to collect data from a sample of 15 African American women survivors of IPV who were over 18 years of age. Descriptive statistics, including frequencies and distributions derived from SPSS (version 21) were employed to describe the study sample. An NVivo 12 qualitative analysis tool was used to analyze the data collected from interview transcripts to answer the research questions. The study results document treatment barriers that include treatment costs, shame, discrimination, negative stigma, and distrust. The key themes include the closure of the microsystem, cultural inhibitions and treatment cost as macrosystem barriers, connecting with providers and opening the relationship microsystem, and the need for belief and acceptance. This study is significant to positive social change at individual, family, societal, and policy levels. Researchers and practitioners will be informed about strategies to implement support groups run by African Americans and social policies to address institutionalized racism African American women survivors of IPV experience.