Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

Skip to Search

Skip to Navigation

Volume 84 Issue 3 (September 2011), Pages 237-348

Young women's accounts of intimate partner violence during adolescence and subsequent recovery processes: An interpretative phenomenological analysis (pages 314-334)

Objective.  Previous qualitative research into the experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) has largely focused upon mature women's accounts. The objectives of this interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) were to explore three young women's understandings of why they had been vulnerable to IPV in mid‐to‐late adolescence, their experiences of IPV, and their recovery processes.

Design.  This study followed guidelines for IPA, largely focusing upon shared aspects of the experience of IPV as narrated by three young women who considered that they had since recovered from the experience.

Method.  Semi‐structured interviews explored participants’ retrospective understandings of how they had become entrapped in a long‐term abusive relationship in adolescence, how IPV had affected them at the time, and the processes that they had found helpful to recover well‐being.

Findings.  Participants largely attributed their vulnerability to IPV to feeling confused about feelings and relationships, disconnected, and powerless in early adolescence. IPV was described as escalating insidiously, rendering participants confined, anxious and powerless, ensnaring them in their partner's family, marginalized in their own families, and undermining their identities. Recovery processes began with pivotal moments. Participants described repairing identity through engaging in age‐appropriate activities, extricating self from the partner's family, and rebuilding family relationships.

Conclusions.  Participants described experiences of IPV and recovery in adolescence that differed in some ways from those previously identified in adult women and were interpreted using theories of adolescent identity development and attachment.

Add This link

Bookmark and Share>