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African American Women Who have Experienced Interpersonal Violence and Their Process of Resilience
AuthorDuPree, Norris Delane
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Abstract The purpose of this study was to explore the process of resilience in African American women who have experienced interpersonal violence in their life. Seven African American women within the ages of 35 to 66 were interviewed using a semi-structured format. The African American interviewees experienced interpersonal violence that consisted of: (1) molestation and incest; (2) murder in the nuclear family; and (3) domestic violence. The research theory used to conduct this study was phenomenological inquiry. Phenomenological theory entailed how people perceived their experience of an event and how they constructed meaning. This phenomenological inquiry project was embedded in the belief that data regarding resilience were contained within the perceptions, awareness, and understandings of African American women who had experienced interpersonal violence. A phenomenological design was used to look at themes, patterns, and processes related to resilience across different adversities. The core of the data analysis consisted of an examination of shared essences, common meanings, and resilient indicators deemed most important by the interviewees. The study explored an in-depth meaning of their experience and clarified key indicators of resilience that allow individuals to rebound from adversity. This study-conceptualized resilience as a non-linear perspective that was comprised of support systems, intentionality, sharing and listening to stories, and adjusting and adapting individually and with family. The clusters appeared to be interrelated with one another in helping to foster resilience. Resilience was a non-linear relationship that is developed across the life span. Five clusters were identified for African American women who experienced interpersonal violence and their process toward resilience. Indicators of resilience that were common with interviewees: (a) Coping; (b) Intentionality; (c) Vulnerability; (d) Support Systems; and (e) Altruism. The clusters appeared to be interrelated with one another in helping to foster resilience. Interpersonal violence encountered by the participants appeared to shape the themes in each section. Therefore, the themes pertaining to resiliency could not be collapsed because they were accessed differently due to various forms of adversity that the participants were exposed to. Each interviewee who encountered adversity through the form of interpersonal violence may have expressed resilience the same categorically; however, they had different experiences.