Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Ford-Gilboe, Marilyn


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is considered a major stressor that threatens the lives of women globally. Although qualitative research suggests that IPV has substantial negative effects on women’s quality of life, few quantitative studies have examined the quality of life of women who have experienced IPV due, in part, to the lack of an appropriate, brief measure of QOL. Consequently, little is known about the contextual process by which IPV experiences affect women’s quality of life (QOL) after leaving an abusive relationship. Mastery and social support are two important resources that women may use to deal with IPV but whether they function as mediators of the relationships between recent and ongoing IPV experience and QOL is unknown. The purposes of this study were to: a) advance the measurement of both QOL and IPV by evaluating the psychometric properties of the QOL Scale and Index of Spouse Abuse scale (ISA) in a community sample of Canadian women; and, b) test a theoretical model that explains how women’s recent and ongoing experiences of IPV affect their QOL and whether social support and mastery mediate this process.

A secondary analysis of data from a sample of 250 Canadian women who participated in Wave 5 of the Women’s Health Effects Study was conducted to address the study purposes. Support for the construct validity of both the Index of Spouse Abuse (ISA) and Quality of Life Scale was found using factor analysis techniques; evidence in support of the concurrent validity and internal consistency reliability of each scale was also found. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine whether social support and mastery mediate the relationship between the severity of recent and current IPV and women’s QOL. The proposed theoretical model was found to fit the data. Specifically, the severity of recent and ongoing IPV was found to affect women’s QOL directly and, indirectly, through mastery and social support, although the strength of the path coefficients differed.

The results demonstrate the reliability and validity of the ISA and QOL scales and contribute delineating the mediating effects of mastery and social support. The findings underscore the significance of considering recent and ongoing IPV experiences and women’s resources as key factors shaping QOL after separation from an abusive partner.