"Some days I don't know how I got through it, but I did": The Experience of Resilience in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

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Crann, Sara
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University of Guelph

Little is known about what factors contribute to resilience or how resilience is experienced by survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). Using in-depth semi-structured interviews, two qualitative studies examined how resilience is defined, conceptualized, and experienced by survivors of IPV. Ten adult women participated in study 1 and data was analyzed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006) to identify a variety of internal and external factors and mechanisms that contributed to resilience. Sixteen adult women participated in study 2 and data was analyzed using Colaizzi’s (1978) phenomenological method. Resilience was experienced as a series of cognitive, emotional, and behavioural shifts across three theme areas: toward resistance, in the experience of control, and toward positivity. Together, these studies suggest that for survivors of IPV, resilience is experienced as a personalized, ongoing, and dynamic process involving multiple internal and external pathways that facilitate shift experiences.

intimate partner violence, resilience, phenomenology