The prevalence rate of intimate partner violence (IPV) for African American women is high, affecting 43.7% across the U.S.3 Women who experience IPV perpetration are four times more likely to attempt suicide than women who have never been abused and are more likely to experience a range of chronic mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety, as well as sleep and eating disorders.6,7 Of particular note, African American women IPV victims experience more pervasive mental and chronic physical illnesses than women of other racial/ethnic groups.1,8,9 Consequently, IPV within heterosexual relationships is a critical public health problem that has pervasive deleterious effects and disproportionately impacts African American women.1,2 Despite these findings, African American women are less likely to seek help due to the dearth of culturally congruent interventions and the persistence of intergenerational messages to distrust mental health professionals.10,2 In 2017, the CDC analyzed IPV-related homicide trend data spanning 10 years and noted that racial/ethnic differences were predictive of victims? outcomes, underscoring the need to develop targeted interventions for multiple-stressed populations like African American women.2 IPV victims experience sequelae of chronic and acute mental, physical, and sexual health complications that cost the country an estimated $8.3 billion annually.3,4,5 Further, partner violence is commonly viewed as a criminal justice issue rather than a health issue, which could also impact African American women?s decision to seek help.3,4,5 In line with the CDC?s recommendation, this study will focus on identifying and understanding how women whose identities stand at the intersections of race, class, and gender psychologically assess and evaluate the viability of and engage with available service provision during IPV help-seeking. I will employ a constructivist grounded theory approach to explicate qualitatively and identify the phenomenon.24 I will collect demographic and narrative data during individual in-depth interviews from a purposive sample of approximately 30 African American women who disclose that they have experienced a violent episode within the previous 12 months and a secondary, purposeful sample of 10 key informants who will provide contextual insights to the women?s help-seeking, totaling a sample of up to 40 participants.24 This research will facilitate my long-term goal: to develop targeted, culturally congruent mental health interventions for African American women IPV victims that could later be tested via an R01 to improve their mental health and well-being. The overall objective of this proposed study is to develop a model of the psychological processes of help-seeking among African American women IPV victims. The rationale for the proposed study is that there is a dearth of culturally congruent interventions for this multiple-stressed population of African American women IPV victims despite the CDC?s recommendations.10,2
Women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) within heterosexual relationships are four times more likely to attempt suicide than women who have never been abused and more likely to experience a range of chronic mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety, as well as sleep and eating disorders. Of particular note, African American women IPV victims experience more pervasive mental and chronic physical illnesses than women of other racial/ethnic groups, and low-income African American women experience more significant mental health problems, including suicidal ideation, PTSD, and depression.1,8,9,43,44,45,46,47 Fundamental to improving the mental health and well-being of this understudied, difficult-to-reach, multiple-stressed population is developing a model of their psychological processes of help-seeking.