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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education (Counseling Psychology), Under the Supervision of Michael J. Scheel. Lincoln, Nebraska: June 2010
Copyright 2010 Jaime Gonzalez


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the meanings that Latina women place on their domestic violence experiences so as to better understand what impact these meanings may or may not have on their futures and the futures of their families. This study used qualitative interviews and the method of phenomenology to elicit descriptions from a sample of Latina victims of domestic violence. Specifically, the goal of this study was to explore how Latinas conceptualize their experience of domestic violence and to understand how these conceptualizations differ from those used to describe domestic violence from a Euro-American women’s perspective. Participants were recruited from a local Midwestern agency that provides crisis intervention, advocacy and prevention services for domestic violence, incest and sexual assault victims. The aim of this project was to recruit at least 10 participants. This decision was influenced by Creswell’s recommendation that a phenomenological study requires at least 10 participants in order to make assertions regarding the phenomenon of interest (Creswell, 2006). The method of data collection was through interview. Participants were monetarily compensated for their time and effort. The timeframe for data collection was approximately six months. The interviews took place at the agency described above and were transcribed by a professional transcriptionist. Participants were involved in member-checking to assure that the appropriate meanings and interpretations of data were accurate. The meaning of the participant’s experience is meant to provide implications for the understanding of domestic violence in Latina culture and will provide information toward the development of a culturally sensitive model of domestic violence.

Advisor: Michael J. Scheel

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