Abstract: Considering Culture: Implications for Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Interventions (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

Considering Culture: Implications for Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Interventions

Saturday, January 19, 2019: 10:45 AM
Union Square 20 Tower 3, 4th Floor (Hilton San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Johanna Barry, LCSW, Doctoral Student, Loyola University, Chicago, Chicago, IL
Linda Gilkerson, PhD, Professor, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL
Background and Purpose: The prevalence of IPV in the United States is alarming: five million children witness IPV each year, and it is estimated that more than 40 million adults live in IPV homes. Prior research has shown that IPV occurs across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic divides. However, the way IPV is experienced depends largely on cultural norms and beliefs.

The Facilitating Attuned Interactions (FAN) model has demonstrated effectiveness in home visiting programs that provide service to at-risk families. Yet, there is a paucity of research as to how such home visiting models need to be adapted to fit diverse client needs. Research in this area is essential to mitigating the effects of IPV. This project helps to fill this gap by examining the retrospective accounts of home visitors at agencies devoted to serving clients of distinct cultural identities. Drawing on their own experiences of how well the FAN model aligned with the population their agency served, participants offered suggestions as to how to change aspects of the model to make interventions more impactful.

Methods: The current project includes two qualitative data collection points: (1) initial interviews with program leaders to identify emerging themes, and (2) focus groups with leaders and staff to expand on the initial findings. For interviews, purposive sampling was used to ensure that the three largest racial ethnic groups served by FAN-trained agencies were represented. The sample was predominantly female (80% female; 20% male) and represented several races and ethnicities in equal part (33% Black; 33% Latinx; 33% White). Participants identified as the same race/ethnicity as the clientele they served and were asked to speak to their own comfort level using the FAN. Each interview was transcribed verbatim and coded thematically using NVivo 11 qualitative software. Focus groups will be conducted to elicit case examples and identify additional themes.

Findings: Data analysis revealed that the effectiveness of the FAN approach in intervening in cases of IPV, differed according to client culture. Particularly within the Latinx community, participants expressed difficulty translating FAN-specific language and terms from English to Spanish. Translation challenges were exacerbated considering the sensitive nature of IPV. Results additionally suggested that clients for whom religiosity was an essential cultural component were more challenging to engage on the topic of IPV, due to elevated feelings of shame and fear of judgment. Program leaders expressed a need to alter the order in which some of the FAN core processes were implemented.

Conclusion and Implications: Findings from interviews highlight the importance of altering the components of therapeutic interventions designed to treat IPV based upon the cultural contexts of clients. The FAN model is one of many interventions that uses specific wording and relies on an order of operations that must be shifted to better attune to client culture around the issue of IPV. By gathering feedback from program leaders and staff regarding the cultural values and norms of diverse groups, models like the FAN can be adapted to better provide care to clients at risk of IPV.