"It Was a Curse, It Was a Generational Cycle": Understanding the Lived Experience of Sibling Abuse and Survovors of Intimate Partner Violence.

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this qualitative, hermeneutic phenomenological study with interpretive phenomenological analysis, was to explore my participants' experiences of sibling abuse in childhood and intimate partner violence in adulthood, as well as explore connections between the types of abuse and abusers. This study is novel in examining the long-term impact of sibling abuse in the context of intimate partner violence victimization outcomes. By examining participants' descriptions of their experiences, several nuances came to light about the experience of sibling abuse, and how it impacted participants' vulnerability to violence in adulthood. The most notable finding was the lack of parental support for both types of victimization. In childhood, the parental failure to protect impacted participants in three ways. One, because the sibling abuse was tolerated by their parents, they learned that it was "OK" to be abused. Two, participants came to expect and accept abuse in future relationships based on their childhood experiences. And three, because their parents failed to protect them in childhood, they could not be counted on to help them in adulthood; therefore, participants felt "stuck" in their relationships with intimate partner violence. Current family violence theories may explain the long-term outcome of sibling abuse, but my study, and the current state of the literature around long-term outcomes, may best explain victimization outcomes when the victim of sibling abuse also experiences parental failure to protect. Additionally, because sibling abuse often occurs in homes where there are other types of violence present, more research needs to be done to identify the most significant contributors to a victimization outcome, as well as protective factors in the home that prevent revictimization.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
attachment theory, intergenerational transmission of violence, Intimate partner violence, poly-victimization, sibling abuse