The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Quantitative Analysis of the Relationship Between Empowerment and Hope for Safety Among Domestic Violence Victims

Saturday, January 18, 2014
HBG Convention Center, Bridge Hall Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Ricky T. Munoz, JD, MSW, Assistant Clinical Professor of Social Work, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, OK
Karissa Martin, BA, Research Assistant, University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, OK
Introduction: Empowerment theory holds that individuals must obtain control of important aspects of their life to achieve optimum functioning. Hope theory holds that individuals with hope for goals will engage in behaviors associated with goal pursuit. Our research seeks to better understand the relationship between empowerment, measured by internal locus of control (ILOC) for safety, and hope for safety among clients of a domestic violence shelter located in the Southwestern United States. Our hypotheses is that the lower a client’s perception of empowerment, the lower the hope for safety. Should such a relationship exist, it will provide support for the value of empowerment as a predictor of hope and positive longitudinal behaviors associated with pursuit of safety.

Methods: Clients of a domestic violence shelter were asked to complete an exit survey to assess perceptions of empowerment captured by a three item ILOC measure. The ILOC measure was based on Levenson’s Multi-dimension Locus of Control Inventory that uses a 5-point Likert scale. Total scores were grouped into three categories; the low ILOC group with scores from 3-9, the medium ILOC group with scores from 10-12, and the high ILOC group with scores from 13-15. Feelings of hope for safety were captured by a six item measure built using Snyder’s State Hope Scale and an 8-point Likert scale.

Results: An omnibus one-way ANOVA (N = 53) to determine if the mean score for hope for safety differed across low, medium and high ILOC groups revealed a statistically significant (F = 8.606, df = 2, 50, p = <.05) difference across groups with a large effect size (ŋ2 = .256; suggesting that about 26% of the variance of hope for safety is due to perceptions of empowerment) and an observed power of .959. Post-hoc Tukey HSD tests revealed significant differences (p <.05) in hope for safety across the following groups:  Group 1 (low ILOC; n = 20, M = 30.1, SD = 14.1) and Group 2 (medium ILOC; n = 15, M = 42.3, SD = 6.1) and Group 3 (high ILOC; n = 18, M = 42.9, SD = 9.2).

Conclusions: The results suggest a positive relationship between empowerment and hope for safety among domestic violence victims. The implication is that interventions that increase ILOC will also increase hope for safety, which in turn will result in an increase in positive longitudinal behaviors associated with the pursuit of safety from domestic violence.