Intimate Partner Violence Related Stress and the Coping Experiences of Survivors: “There’s Only So Much a Person Can Handle”
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a prevalent problem associated with multiple negative outcomes for survivors’ well-being. Coping has emerged as an important construct in understanding the association between IPV and survivors’ well-being. Research is needed to better understand the contextual complexity of IPV as a stressor, determine if IPV is a unique stressor, and document survivors’ coping experiences. This article reports findings of a qualitative study with 25 female survivors and 6 service providers. Analysis of interview data shows 3 key themes: (a) coping strategies used by survivors; (b) challenges and barriers to coping with IPV; and (c) IPV as a unique stressor. Despite multiple challenges and barriers to coping with IPV, survivors use multiple, varied strategies to cope with their experiences of abuse. However, given the context and nature of IPV, violent victimization is a distinct stressor with unique barriers that often require IPV-specific coping strategies.