Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Date of Award




Degree Level


LCSH subject

Marital psychotherapy; Family psychotherapy; Intimate partner violence; Children of divorced parents -- Hispanic American parents; Hispanic American parents -- Divorce

Proquest Document ID





St. Mary's University (San Antonio, Tex.)

Document Type


First Advisor

Tubbs, Carolyn Y.


This dissertation presented a hermeneutic phenomenological study conducted with 12 Latina mothers who were survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) considering or in a process of shared parenting with their former abusive partner. The purpose of this study was to explore the essence of shared parenting experiences among participants in the IPV context and examine how attachment style, adverse childhood experiences, and cultural values impacted their shared parenting decisions and processes. The study was guided by the theoretical frameworks of symbolic interactionism, intersectional feminism, and attachment. Findings indicated adverse childhood experiences and cultural values affected participants’ shared parenting decisions and processes, with all but one participant reporting they desired shared parenting for the sake of their children. Participants were fully aware of risks associated with shared parenting including psychological abuse, physical violence, and coercive control. Participants reported riskmanagement strategies, the most prevalent of which included involving a third party, often family or a trusted friend, using supervised visitation, and meeting the\ perpetrator in a public place. Given the role of attachment style in relation to shared parenting was unclear, future research should investigate the impact of attachment style and shared parenting. Additionally, assessing adverse childhood experiences and cultural values will be beneficial when combined with interview data. Due to the prevalence of IPV, culturally sensitive and trauma-informed interventions must focus on individual skills training for survivors, group therapy to help process IPV experiences and instill hope, and relational therapy with family members and loved ones to strengthen problem-solving skills and promote recovery. Furthermore, in the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic, many women reside with perpetrators due to lack of resources, so secure online platforms must be constructed to provide support and ensure women and children’s safety. Recommendations were provided for improving how the legal and judicial system recognize and respond to coercive control as a punishable form of abuse. Moreover, to improve competence among mental health practitioners working with IPV survivors, graduate programs for mental health practitioners must include general knowledge and intervention on IPV. Intervention through the educational system and the church system is also recommended.

Keywords: intimate partner violence, Latinx, shared parenting, adverse childhood

experiences, attachment styles, intersectional feminism

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.