Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 43–52 | Cite as

“It Helped a Lot to Go Over it”: Intimate Partner Violence Research Risks and Benefits from Participating in an 18-month Longitudinal Study

  • L. Kevin HambergerEmail author
  • Sadie Larsen
  • Bruce Ambuel
Original Article


In conducting research with a vulnerable population, researchers must assure that benefits of research outweigh costs. The present study qualitatively examined intimate partner violence (IPV) survivors’ experiences of participating in an 18-month, longitudinal study of IPV screening and intervention within a primary healthcare setting. A structured interview was administered to 24 participants who completed their 18-month study interview and assessment. The structured interview queried changes made, safety risks during study participation, and advice for researchers. Most participants reported making positive changes in their lives during study participation, often partially attributing the changes to study participation. In particular, participants spoke to the importance of talking about the abuse with trusted others, gaining increased awareness and information about IPV and resources, and recognizing that they were capable of change. Feedback about the study experience was largely neutral or positive, with only one hypothetical safety worry raised. We conclude that the potential benefits to study participation outweigh potential costs. These findings suggest that research with IPV survivors can be designed to address IRB concerns about risks to participants and cost-benefit analyses of research participation.


Intimate partner violence IPV screening Research risks Study participation Research ethics Vulnerable populations Participant reactions IPV research 



This project was supported by grants from the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program Foundation #2004II-0088, B. Ambuel, P. I., and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention R49/CE0011754, L. K. Hamberger, P. I. This paper is partially the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the Clement J. Zablocki VAMC, Milwaukee, WI.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Kevin Hamberger
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sadie Larsen
    • 3
    • 4
  • Bruce Ambuel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family and Community MedicineMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Ascension All Saints Family Care CenterMilwaukeeUSA
  3. 3.Milwaukee VA Medical CenterMilwaukeeUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA

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