A qualitative exploration of 'thrivership' among women who have experienced domestic violence and abuse: development of a new model

Isobel Heywood, Dana Sammut, Caroline Bradbury-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Domestic violence and abuse (DVA) is a serious public health issue, threatening the health of individuals the world over. Whilst DVA can be experienced by both men and women, the majority is still experienced by women; around 30% of women worldwide who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced violence at the hands of their partner, and every week in England and Wales two women are killed by their current or ex-partner. The purpose of this study was to explore the concept of thrivership with women who have experienced DVA, to contribute to our understandings of what constitutes 'thriving' post-abuse, and how women affected can move from surviving to thriving. Methods: Thirty-seven women took part in this qualitative study which consisted of six focus groups and four in-depth interviews undertaken in one region of the UK in 2018. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. Initial findings were reported back to a group of participants to invite respondent validation and ensure co-production of data. Results: The process of 'thrivership' - moving from surviving to thriving after DVA - is a fluid, non-linear journey of self-discovery featuring three 'stages' of victim, survivor, and thriver. Thriving after DVA is characterised by a positive outlook and looking to the future, improved health and well-being, a reclamation of the self, and a new social network. Crucial to ensuring 'thrivership' are three key components that we propose as the 'Thrivership Model', all of which are underpinned by education and awareness building at different levels: (1) Provision of Safety, (2) Sharing the Story, (3) Social Response. Conclusions: The study findings provide a new view of thriving post-abuse by women who have lived through it. The proposed Thrivership Model has been developed to illustrate what is required from DVA-services and public health practitioners for the thrivership process to take place, so that more women may be supported towards 'thriving' after abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2019


  • DVA
  • Domestic abuse
  • Thrivership
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology


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