Date of Award

5-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Nursing

Major Professor

Joanne Hall

Committee Members

Sandra P. Thomas, Debra C. Walden, Priscilla Blanten

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the experience of discovering strengths of homeless abused women. An emancipatory feminist and existential phenomenological research design was used. Seventeen homeless abused women participated in facilitative dialogues that explored experiences of strength, and assisted in consciousness raising and then discovery of each woman’s own strengths. There were four levels of analysis used to identify a thematic structure. The thematic structure was derived from the various themes of strength that were facilitated in the dialogue and expressed in the words of the women. These various themes were clustered and organized within a larger categorization of global themes representing (a) characteristics of strength, (b) strategies used by the women to feel strong, and (c) barriers that the women must overcome within their environments. This research expands Draucker and Stern’s (2000) model of forging ahead in a dangerous world and Neuman’s Systems Model’s model of perceptions of women’s created environments (Neuman, 1995; Neuman & Fawcett, 2002). Through reading women’s words describing their life experiences, this research provides a different way of viewing homelessness and abuse of women. Nurses will more readily understand the personal resources of homeless abused women that can be used for empowerment and health enhancement.

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