Degree Name

DSN (Doctor of Science in Nursing)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Lois W. Lowry

Committee Members

Diana Conco, Jo-Ann Marrs, Larry S. Miller


Recent national surveys in the United States estimate one in five females will experience abuse by an intimate partner during her lifetime. Previous quantitative research linked childhood victimization to repeated victimization in adult relationships. This qualitative study explored the lived experiences of childhood in eight female victims of intimate partner violence who were born and reared in southern Appalachia. Interviews were analyzed using a descriptive-interpretative phenomenological method, as described by Van Manen. The three essential themes from childhood were identified as: living 'as if' an orphan; surviving in chaos; and, manifesting a devalued self. These themes were congruent with findings from quantitative literature regarding family violence. After analyzing the data, it was found that the Neuman Systems Model provided a comprehensive perspective for linking the data to a nursing theoretical framework that is used to guide practice, education and research; thus extending nursing science. Through increased awareness of personal stories, previous negative attitudes toward victims can be altered and behaviors changed, leading to improved nursing care.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.

Included in

Nursing Commons