Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Domestic violence is a prevalent occurring phenomenon not only within the United States but in other countries as well. Research has just begun to explore the impact domestic violence has on the career paths of survivors and has made limited exploration of the impact domestic violence, in general, has on ethnic minorities. The purpose of this study was to explore and grow our understanding of the impact of a career counseling group on the vocational goals and opportunities of survivors of domestic violence through qualitative analysis. Ground Theory was chosen for the qualitative analysis specific because it provides for the real and detailed lived experiences of women survivor’s of domestic violence in a career intervention group.

The study resulted in the development of a theoretical model. The model was conceptualized with human agency as the core and seven empowering constructs that flow in and out of and interact with the core construct. The seven empowering constructs included connectedness; domestic violence awareness; culture; external resources; internal barriers; external barriers; and identifying goals. As the seven empowering constructs interact with the core construct, self-efficacy, the most influential component of human agency, appears to have increased. Self-efficacy in this model was related to career self-efficacy due to the focus of the group was on employment, vocational interests, skills, and goals. At the beginning of the research study all six participants were unemployed and had hopes of gaining employment. At the termination of the study, four of the six participants were satisfactorily employed, one participant was enrolled as a student at the local university, and one participant’s employment was unknown due to attrition of that participant.

At termination of this study the group participants were motivated and each made progress towards their vocational goals. They also all noted they gained valuable friendships as a result of the group process. The results of this study indicate supportive, educational, and empowering interventions may lead to survivor’s pursuit of vocational goals.