Abstract: (see Poster Gallery) Interrogating Inequity in Supporting Parent Survivors of IPV (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

449P (see Poster Gallery) Interrogating Inequity in Supporting Parent Survivors of IPV

Saturday, January 14, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Johanna Barry, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Work, Augsburg University, Minneapolis, MN
Julia Pryce, PhD, Associate Professor, Loyola University, Chicago, Chicago, IL
Background: Empirical evidence suggests that parenting capacity in contexts of IPV is adversely impacted. Despite the growing movement toward client-centered, strengths-based approaches to supporting survivors of IPV, much research on this topic assumes a decidedly deficit-based approach that places parents and especially mothers, under unfair scrutiny. Little attention has been devoted to understanding parenting in contexts of violence and trauma, and how we can support parents in efforts that enable their survival and that of their children. This research fills a gap in the literature through a qualitative investigation of parenting capacity and meaning making in the context of the IPV. No research to date in the United States has explored this topic using social justice and anti-oppressive research as frameworks, nor has research approached the problem by asking survivors about their experiences. This work was committed to listening to survivors’ stories to give voice to a population often subjected to undue judgment, rather than provided opportunity.

Methodology: Despite well-documented challenges to recruitment in this population, a robust and diverse sample of 16 female-identified were recruited. Participation criteria required that women had been previously a part of an IPV relationship, defined as physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and/or financial abuse, and that they have at least one child. Of the sample accrued, women represented a range of ages, racio-ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic strata. Interviews began with a storyboarding activity in which participants wrote, drew, or otherwise visually expressed parts of their experiences with IPV and parenting. Semi-structured, in-person interviews were conducted and lasted between 60 and 180 minutes at locations chosen by the participants. Data were analyzed via iterative, thematic analysis by the principal investigator as well as two members of the qualitative research team using NVivo-12 software.

Results: Analysis revealed that parenting capacity as described by participants could be categorized within two major themes: relational capacity and operational capacity. Relational capacity is defined as participants’ ability to connect emotionally with their children and provide an emotionally close, nurturing relationship. Operational capacity involves participants attending to the more tangible, logistical aspects of parenting, such as attending to children’s basic needs. Together, the two dimensions comprise the Dual-Part Model of Parenting. While some participants expressed limited operational capacity due to financial strain resulting from IPV relationships, they often described enhanced relational capacity. Each dimension was distilled further into a total of four sub-themes, which included subcategories to further illustrate the findings.

Conclusion/Implications: By viewing parenting capacity using the Dual-Part Model, we can acknowledge that parenting in contexts of IPV is nuanced and complex. Through this model, we give survivors the space to demonstrate in context aspects of parenting in which they excel, as opposed to solely focusing on what parts of parenting need to be “fixed,” making assumptions about survivors’ parenting skills because of their circumstances. Rather, survivors demonstrate strength in their commitment to their children and adapting to traumatic circumstances to protect children. Using this model allows for the strengths of the survivors to influence discourse, treatment, and policy.