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Publication Date


First Advisor

Joyce E. Everett

Second Advisor

James Drisko

Third Advisor

Susan Birn

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School for Social Work


Caregivers, Adolescents, IPV, Efffects, Exposure


The purpose of this study was to explore caregivers’ knowledge of the risks and effects of adolescent exposure to intimate partner violence, their efforts to mitigate the effects and the barriers they encountered in obtaining help for their adolescents in rural western Massachusetts. A demographic questionnaire and semi-structured interviews were completed with 21 caregivers of multiple diversities. The results indicated that 1) most caregivers identified several effects of IPV exposure on their adolescents; 2) few caregivers were able to discuss the risks to and long-term effects on their adolescents; 3) caregivers attempted to mitigate the effects of IPV by keeping adolescents safe and away from the violence; providing soothing reassurances and formal/informal supports; shielding them from the true nature of the abuser; and encouraging communication with adolescents, and 4) the barriers caregivers encountered in getting help included getting in their own way; having limited knowledge about formal services; or not enough desired services offered. Implications for future research, clinical practice, policy, and social work education are drawn.


©2020 Jean Clarke-Mitchell. Access limited to the Smith College community and other researchers while on campus. Smith College community members also may access from off-campus using a Smith College log-in. Other off-campus researchers may request a copy through Interlibrary Loan for personal use.




vi, 188 pages : illustrations (some color). Includes bibliographical references (pages 163-175)