The good, the bad, and the ugly: Domestic violence survivors' experiences with their informal social networks

Jennifer L. Trotter, Nicole E. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Informal social networks play a critical role in buffering the negative effects of stressful life events. For women experiencing the stress of a violent relationship, family and friends are among the first sources of support sought; however, reactions to the abuse by family and friends are not uniformly perceived as helpful by survivors. The current study takes a qualitative approach to examining the range of possible reactions survivors may encounter from their social networks regarding the abuse. Special attention is given to negative and mixed reactions, as they have previously been under-examined in the literature. Findings suggest that survivors (N = 45) regularly experience negative and mixed reactions. Emergent themes suggest that both positive and negative reactions to abuse could be understood in four broad arenas: safety, emotional availability, input, and aid. However, positive and negative reactions emerged as distinct constructs within each arena; mixed reactions took multiple forms including being within person and within network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-231
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Volume43
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009

Keywords

  • Domestic violence
  • Informal social support
  • Qualitative methods
  • Social reactions
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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