Poster: Does Vocational Rehabilitation Increase Sense of Empowerment Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence?

Does Vocational Rehabilitation Increase Sense of Empowerment Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence?

Divya Jain, M.Sc., Roosevelt University

Vocational training is a type of job placement service that is gaining momentum as a way of providing those with severe mental illness, criminal backgrounds, or those in drug rehabilitation with additional skills to successfully transition back into mainstream society (Grove, 1994; Savio & Righetti, 1993). This type of rehabilitative programming has only just begun to gain traction in the holistic care of trauma survivors, and in particular, survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). This trend can partly be attributed to evidence that suggests that IPV is significantly more prevalent among women who are unemployed or living in poverty (VandeWeerd, Coulter, & Mercado-Crespo, 2011). The purpose of this study is to better understand the psychological impact of vocational rehabilitation (VR) on survivors of IPV and whether social factors in the work environment influence the correlation between work and mental health. Two main contributions of this study will be: 1. Measuring the psychological impact of VR specifically among IPV survivors, a vulnerable population that has been overlooked in VR research to date; 2. Introduction of measures that assess the level of social support available in the work environment, to ascertain its intermediating impact on mental health outcomes. The findings from this study may inform the vocational programming made available at rehabilitative organizations that target survivors of IPV.

Keywords: rehabilitation; trauma; intimate partner violence; women; empowerment