Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Etiony Aldarondo

Second Committee Member

Debbiesiu Lee

Third Committee Member

Joshua Diem

Fourth Committee Member

Rosa Maria Gonzalez-Guarda


Intimate partner violence (IPV) poses a significant threat to the health and safety of women, men, and children in the U.S. and throughout the world. As the immigrant population of the U.S. continues grow it is important for clinicians, researchers, and policy makers to better understand the experiences and needs of immigrants who face IPV so they can better meet the needs of this population. This study examined the experiences of immigrant who have faced IPV by using qualitative research synthesis, specifically meta-study methods (Paterson, Thorne, Canam & Jillings, 2001). The primary aims of the study were to examine the experiences of immigrant women who faced IPV in terms of the risk and protective factors that influence IPV-related decision making, women’s methods for coping with IPV, and their experiences seeking formal and informal support. A systematic and comprehensive search using relevant electronic databases was conducted to identify studies eligible for inclusion in this analysis. The final sample consisted of 20 research reports which included 15 unique studies and a total of 327 participants. Findings suggest several methodological trends in the current body of research including a reliance on semi-structured interviews to collect data, variations in approaches to managing risks to participants, and the importance of context (rural vs. urban) on women’s experiences of IPV and help-seeking. Synthesis of findings across the sample suggest Latina immigrants initially seek help for IPV through family and friends who provide connections to formal services. The centrality of motherhood and concern for the welfare of children emerged as the most significant influence on women’s responses to IPV and help-seeking decisions. The motherhood role, gender-role expectations, and perceptions and experiences of family support were found to have a two-sided, both risk and protective, influence on help-seeking. Implications of study findings for clinicians and future directions for research are described and include an examination of the utility of qualitative meta-synthesis in the field of psychology.


intimate partner violence; immigrants; qualitative meta-synthesis; help-seeking; coping; social support