Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an insidious societal problem with potentially lethal ramifications. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread conditions and virus risk mitigation procedures like social distancing and stay-at-home orders exacerbated factors that contribute to IPV such as poverty and substance use. Though anyone can experience IPV, mothers carried unparalleled burdens in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic such as increasing childcare responsibilities, growing financial difficulties, and worsening mental health, and many of these factors have been linked to experiencing IPV. The growing body of literature indicates a rise in IPV during COVID-19, but little has been empirically established on the interactions between IPV, motherhood, and COVID-19. This study used inductive thematic analysis of open responses to an online survey completed by a sample (n = 55) of mothers in U.S. metropolitan areas who were at least 18 years old and who had experienced IPV in the last five years. Data were organized by respondents' perceptions of the pandemic's impact (positive, negative, or no impact) on their interactions with abusive partners, overall well-being, and feelings of safety. Responses indicating a negative impact were sorted into three themes: Pandemic Circumstances Creating or Exacerbating Problems, Adapting Abuse Tactics to Fit Pandemic Circumstances, and Strategically Managing Abusive Situations. Responses indicating no impact were sorted into two themes: No Impact (General) and No Contact. Responses indicating a positive impact were sorted into two themes: Feeling Safer During the Pandemic and Improving Mother-Child Situations. Furthermore, respondents identified mental health care, legal or judicial assistance, and financial support as needed resources during the height of COVID-19 shutdowns. Findings can be used to aid mothers in future pandemics as well as natural disasters, wars, and similar environmental conflicts.


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Graduation Date





Cares, Alison


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program

Applied Sociology; Domestic Violence Track


CFE0009484; DP0027484





Release Date

May 2023

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)