The Association Between Social Support and Stages of Change in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

Academic Article


  • For survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), it is often difficult to take steps to establish safety and obtain a violence free life. Researchers have applied stage of change theory to aid in understanding the experience of survivors, as well as, the factors that can help women who desire to make changes in or break free from a violent relationship. Social support is one factor that can be helpful to IPV survivors who are attempting to make changes in their relationship. The purpose of the current study was to examine the differences in social support experienced by women who are at varying points in the process of change. Shelter residents (N = 191) participated in this cross-sectional non-experimental study. Analyses demonstrated five distinct clusters or profiles of change among study participants and were labeled by the authors as follows: preparticipation, decision making, engagement, ambivalent, and action. All forms of social support (i.e., structural, functional, and satisfaction) were generally higher for individuals more engaged in the process of change. More specifically, differences were noted between the action and decision-making clusters and the engagement and decision-making clusters. These findings suggest that it is vital that clinicians working with survivors of IPV not only assess but also tailor interventions to meet survivors where they are in the process of change. Further, interventions that foster survivors’ abilities to develop reliable and satisfying social support networks will be beneficial for survivors of IPV.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zapor H; Wolford-Clevenger C; Johnson DM
  • Start Page

  • 1051
  • End Page

  • 1070
  • Volume

  • 33
  • Issue

  • 7