UK College of Social Work Study Shows Black Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence Receive Less Workplace Support

A new study from the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky showed Black survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) receive significantly less workplace support than their White counterparts. The study was published in the Violence Against Women Journal.

“When we compared their responses, we found Black survivors received support that significantly impacted two workplace disruptions,” said co-author Kathryn Showalter, PhD, of the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. “White survivors, however, received support that significantly impacted six workplace disruptions.”

To determine if a disparity existed between the workplace support received by White and Black IPV survivors, researchers analyzed anonymous survey data of IPV survivors who identified as women, were 18 years of age or older, had been employed at some point during their experience of IPV, and had not experienced cyberstalking at the time of the survey.

The study found that while both White and Black survivors experienced workplace disruptions that were harmful to their career advancement, only White survivors were offered significantly impactful help.

  • Black participants were less likely to be approached by a coworker and asked if they were okay.
  • None of the Black participants who had missed weeks of work were extended a help-seeking phone call by a coworker.
  • Black participants’ coworkers were less likely to show concern for their wellbeing during or after abuser-initiated workplace disruptions.

“By simply checking in with coworkers showing signs of intimate partner violence victimization, numerous abusive tactics can be impacted and possibly stopped,” Dr. Showalter said. “Where coworkers are falling short is in extending the same genuine concern to Black women in our workplaces.”

Other authors on the study include Theresia Pachner, PhD, of the College of Social Work, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky and Paige Maffett, law student, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.

UK College of Social Work’s Natalie Pope Receives 2021 Rose Dobrof Award

Natalie Pope, Ph.D., Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work, has been selected for the 2021 Rose Dobrof Award for her article, “’Just like Jail’: Trauma Experiences of Older Homeless Men.”

The article, co-authored by Susan Buchino, University of Louisville, and Sarah Ascienzo, North Carolina State University, discusses findings based on a study of men over the age of 50 who had experienced multiple instances of homelessness. Participants in the study spoke about the trauma they had experienced in early life and as homeless adults.

The Rose Dobrof Award is presented to authors of articles published in the Journal of Gerontological Social Work that are methodologically rigorous, innovative, and show an impact in the field of gerontology. The award will be presented during a virtual awards celebration.

About the College of Social Work

For over 80 years, the University of Kentucky College of Social Work has been a leader in social work education. Our mission is clear: Through rigorous research, excellence in instruction, and steadfast service, the College works to improve the human condition. Always, in all ways. To learn more about the College of Social Work, visit socialwork.uky.edu.

New Study Offers Insight on Impact of Masculinity on the Mental Health of Gay Black Men

A recent study conducted by University of Kentucky College of Social Work researcher Keith J. Watts, Ph.D., discusses the social construction of masculinity and the implications it has on the mental health of gay Black men.

The study published in the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health found that masculine identity is associated with both positive and negative mental health outcomes among gay Black men.

For some, being perceived as masculine enables them to navigate and manage the societal challenges related to being both Black and gay. Others feel that perceptions of masculinity exacerbate their existing trauma resulting from experiencing the world as Black men.

“Among the most fascinating findings that emerged from this study were the participants’ simultaneous understanding of masculinity as both a fictional social construction affixed to all individuals assigned male at birth, and as a very real social identity that has had tangible positive and negative impacts on their lived experiences,” said Dr. Watts “This contradiction illustrates the highly contextualized and complex nature of social identities.”

“A glimpse into the everyday challenges of navigating such complexities helps us understand the explicitly expressed need for community spaces that center the unique experiences of gay Black men, and for mental health practitioners who are familiar with and prepared to engage these intersectional experiences,” Dr. Watts said.

Watt’s study was conducted in collaboration with Kia J. Bentley, Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work.

About the College of Social Work

For over 80 years, the University of Kentucky College of Social Work has been a leader in social work education. Our mission is clear: Through rigorous research, excellence in instruction, and steadfast service, the College works to improve the human condition. Always, in all ways. To learn more about the College of Social Work, visit socialwork.uky.edu.

Media Contact

Crystal Barnes
crystal.barnes@uky.edu
859-257-7251

College of Social Work Study Examines Effect of Intimate Partner Violence on Employment of Mothers With Young Children

Results of a new study from the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky indicate mothers experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) are significantly more likely to be unemployed if they have a three-year-old child. The study is published in Work, Employment and Society.

Using advanced statistical modeling of secondary data to determine employment trajectories, researchers found mothers experiencing IPV when their child is three years of age are significantly more likely to be unemployed six years after the abuse occurred.

“There is a lasting effect on mothers’ employment status when they experience IPV at this critical time,” said lead author Kathryn Showalter, PhD, of the University of Kentucky College of Social Work. “Employers should explore ways to support women with young children who are experiencing IPV so that they can maintain employment. Something as simple as asking survivors if they are okay can make a big impact.”

Other authors on the study include Susan Yoon, PhD, of the Ohio State University College of Social Work in Columbus, Ohio and TK Logan, PhD, of the University of Kentucky Department of Behavioral Science in Lexington, Kentucky.

About the College of Social Work

For over 80 years, the University of Kentucky College of Social Work has been a leader in social work education. Our mission is clear: Through rigorous research, excellence in instruction, and steadfast service, the College works to improve the human condition. Always, in all ways. To learn more about the College of Social Work, visit socialwork.uky.edu.

Media Contact

Crystal Barnes
crystal.barnes@uky.edu
859-257-7251