The objectives of this meta-summary are to (1) explore the factors that contribute to mothers’ decisions to leave intimate partner violence (IPV), (2) find similarities and differences in these factors among mothers, and (3) discuss implications of these findings for advocates and researchers. Six qualitative studies concerning the views of adult, firsthand IPV victims in the United States, Norway, and Nicaragua are utilized. Using Sandelowski and Barroso’s meta-summary method, findings related to women’s decisions to leave a violent relationship were extracted from the articles. Fifty-four initial findings were reduced to fifteen abstracted findings, and four major themes were identified: picturing a better future, stagnant or worsening situation, children’s best interests, and outside intervention. The effect sizes of each abstracted finding and theme were calculated. The most pervasive findings, at 83% each, noted that a mother left because she realized her child had been or could be hurt by the abusive intimate partner or because the violence significantly worsened. All of the studies addressed the themes ‘stagnant or worsening situation” and “children’s best interests;” 67% and 83% of the studies addressed “picturing a better future” and “outside intervention,” respectively. The study shows that while women’s individual situations may vary greatly, similarities exist between their decisions to leave. The study is limited by its use of completed studies rather than primary data, but nevertheless offers insight into factors that affect mothers’ decisions to leave abusive relationships. Implications and recommendations for additional research are discussed.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 11-23-2014


Jennifer R. Wies

Mentor Department Affiliation

Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Occupational Therapy