Abstract: Scoping Study on Culturally Responsive Intimate Partner Violence Interventions for Immigrant Communities (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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Scoping Study on Culturally Responsive Intimate Partner Violence Interventions for Immigrant Communities

Wednesday, January 20, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Nibedita Shrestha, M.Phil, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Abha Rai, PhD, Assistant Professor, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL
Kristen Ravi, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Luis Alvarez-Hernandez, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D. Student and Research Assistant, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Background and purpose: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a pervasive problem with adverse physical and mental health effects. While both men and women can experience IPV, women are at a higher risk of experiencing violence. The risk of IPV is magnified for immigrant women because many cultures have strict gender roles and display higher levels of IPV tolerance. Although studies have explored mainstream interventions for IPV victims in the US, there is a lack of research on culturally responsive IPV interventions that support immigrant communities. This paper helps fill the gap by reviewing and synthesizing empirical studies on culturally responsive IPV interventions for immigrant communities.

Method: We utilized the five steps recommended by Arskey & O’Malley (2005) for conducting scoping reviews. We utilized the electronic databases ProQuest, PsychINFO, EBSCO Host, and SAGE journals for data collection. The search included peer-reviewed articles from 1990-2020. We searched for various combinations of keywords (i.e., domestic violence, intimate partner violence, spousal abuse, marital violence, culturally relevant, culturally focused, culturally sensitive, interventions, prevention programs, and United States).

Findings: The initial search yielded 10,156 results. After removing duplicates and title and abstract screening, 49 articles were considered. Upon full-text review of the articles, eight articles were selected for the study. Of the eight reviewed studies, seven focused on IPV prevention or intervention approaches and one focused on culturally-specific advocacy efforts and building research capacity. Five studies focused on culturally responsive interventions for Asian immigrants, two studies targeted Latinx immigrants, and one study included Asian, Latinx, and African immigrants. The studies included various levels of prevention or intervention strategies and targeted the community, community leaders, survivors, perpetrators, and practitioners. Studies cited the need for culturally responsive interventions to address the unique needs of immigrant clients. All of the IPV intervention programs in our study addressed IPV in a culturally responsive manner based on community needs. Culturally responsive aspects included how to improve “family harmony”, utilize interventions that protected women without undermining the traditional position of the husband and father in the immigrant family, safeguard children, and destigmatize conversations about IPV.

Conclusions and implications: Given the intersectional needs of immigrant communities, all the IPV programs incorporated prevention strategies directly informed by individual immigrant cultures. The goal of the culturally responsive interventions was to help decrease incidences of IPV by encouraging immigrant women to report IPV, promote egalitarian relationships and respect between spouses, persuade bystanders to intervene, and make it more acceptable to talk about violence. IPV can manifest in unique ways in immigrant communities. Therefore, to enhance the overall effectiveness of the intervention, culturally responsive approaches must address IPV in a manner that resonates with immigrant communities. It is imperative for researchers and practitioners to collaborate with immigrant community members while developing and implementing new culturally responsive interventions specific to communities. These unique interventions will allow for differentiation among participants, enabling researchers to understand unique approaches that may work with specific immigrant communities. More targeted interventions to address the increasing issues of IPV across immigrant communities are needed.