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Broken Dreams: Impact of Partner Violence on the Career Development Process for Professional Women


During the past few decades, scholars have focused their attention on investigating the impact of partner violence on women’s work activities, financial well-being, and employment stability. Significantly less is known about the impact of partner violence on women’s career development over time. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of partner violence on multiple facets of women’s career development at different stages of violence survival. Case study methods were used to examine career trajectories during and after long term abusive relationships for four professional women ages 45 to 55. Findings revealed that during abusive relationships, components of career development and career planning, daily work activities, career advancement, career identity, professional reputation, and opportunities for career advancement were disrupted and affected by partner’s abuse. In addition, abuse continued to affect women’s physical and mental health, financial stability, and support network, affecting their career trajectory over time.

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This study was supported by ten undergraduate students at the University of Oregon who, together, transcribed 24 hours of recorded interviews: Haley Gillham, Linda LaZar, Jasmine Barrera, Nicole Lawson, Emily Adams, Traci Noonan, Chelsea Oakerson, Brittany Hall, Cora Leung, Will Coleman. Thank you to each of them for their hard work, attention to detail, and interest in this project.

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Correspondence to Kali R. Lantrip.

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Lantrip, K.R., Luginbuhl, P.J., Chronister, K.M. et al. Broken Dreams: Impact of Partner Violence on the Career Development Process for Professional Women. J Fam Viol 30, 591–605 (2015).

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  • Partner violence
  • Women
  • Older adult
  • Work
  • Career