Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Cynthia D. Connelly, PhD, RN, FAAN; Jane M. Georges, PhD, RN; Catherine De Leon, PhD, RN, CNL; Bridget Frese, PhD, RN, PHN, CNL, CNM


Latinas, Intimate Partner Violence, Domestic Violence, Hispanic, Covid-19, lived experience


Background: The largest minority group in the United States is represented by Latinos, with Latinas comprising a significant portion of this demographic. Latinas will account for a quarter of the population living in the U.S. by 2050. Studies have indicated Latinas are at a higher risk of experiencing IPV, and researchers have found about 50% of IPV incidents in this community are grossly underreported. The COVID-19 pandemic profoundly impacted the Latino population, with data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showing Latinos have higher rates of COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality. The pandemic compounded the existing difficulties faced by this community, including financial hardships and obstacles to accessing healthcare and resources. Advocates for IPV expressed concern about COVID-19 mandatory stay-at-home orders and social isolation measures taken to control the spread of the disease may have exacerbated IPV placing the mental and physical health of IPV victims at risk. Purpose: The study aimed to provide a deeper understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on IPV among Latinas. This study used a phenomenological approach to explore the lived experiences of Latinas who experienced IPV during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research objectives included exploring how Latinas describe IPV, examining their lived experiences with IPV during the mandatory lockdown phase, and identifying perceived barriers to accessing IPV resources, medical care, and emergency services during the pandemic. Methods: This study used a phenomenological approach to understand the lived experiences of Latinas who faced IPV during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically from March 19, 2020, to January 25, 2021. Participants were recruited through purposive and snowball sampling methods, and data were collected through open-ended questions, demographic surveys, and the ACEs questionnaire. The study prioritized participant privacy and comfort, and trustworthiness was ensured using the Lincoln-Guba framework and bracketing. Furthermore, the researcher used the hermeneutic circle to analyze data and establish themes, which involved interesting pieces of data. Finally, process coding was used to analyze the data further and identify common themes among the 12 participants who were interviewed between January 13, 2022, to August 10, 2022. Findings: Four themes were formed (a) beliefs of cultural norms; (b) adverse emotions: feelings of guilt and extreme vulnerability; (c) mistrust in the legal system; and (d) perceiving the COVID-19 response as a barrier to receiving resources for IPV. The themes identified in the study provided a descriptive understanding of the phenomenon, which helped reveal the essence and meaning of the lived experience of Latinas who experienced IPV amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusion: This study explored the unique challenges Latinas face when experiencing IPV during the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically during the mandatory lockdown phase. Themes, including cultural factors, mistrust in the legal system, and limited access to IPV resources, emerged during the interviews. Latinas experiencing IPV often expressed guilt and extreme vulnerability, and cultural values may influence help-seeking behaviors. The negative perception of the legal system and inadequate police response were consistent themes among the participants. The study highlighted the need for better policies, added to the existing body of literature, and created a path for future research on IPV in this population to prepare for future pandemics.

Document Type

Dissertation: USD Users Only



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