Exploring Protective Strategies among Rural Women in an Abusive Relationship

Kim M. Anderson, Lynette M. Renner, Tina L. Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to explore rural women's accounts of intimate partner violence and the strategies they used to protect themselves from such adversity. Convenience sampling included women currently in an abusive relationship (N = 22), who were receiving mental health services at a rural victim-service provider. Standardized measures indicated, on average, that study participants were symptomatic for depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), yet exhibited higher resilience than other PTSD populations. Participants used a variety of strategies to halt, escape, or resist violence in their lives. Informal and safety planning strategies were rated as most helpful, though resistance and placating strategies were most commonly used. Formal strategy use among participants was associated with higher levels of resilience and depressive symptoms; while participants' increased use of safety planning and resistance strategies were also related to greater resilience. Implications for rural victim service providers include addressing psychological distress and hardiness for women currently in an abusive relationship, while providing the necessary resources to secure their safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-618
Number of pages9
JournalIssues in mental health nursing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 3 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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