Theories are an essential part of the knowledge base of each discipline. One of the missions of scientists is to develop theories and to keep on doing more research to further develop or correct theories based on evidence-based research. So, this is a process which never ends. Theories are developed and tested through research and once they have been sufficiently tested, they become part of science. The main research question was: What are the main components of the PTG journey of female IPV survivors? The aim of this paper is to describe the process of how we answered the research question by developing a theory on post-traumatic-growth (PTG) following intimate partner violence (IPV) from the perspective of female survivors. We aim to describe and explain it more comprehensively than is possible in a single paper where a theory is being introduced. We emphasize how we synthesized the theory by using own qualitative research and the accompanying unpublished qualitative data (transcripts) and then used systematic comparison of these to the literature. The method of theory synthesis involves three main steps: (1) specification of the key concepts and key statements of the theory; (2) a review of the literature to identify components related to the key concepts and key statements; and (3) organization of the key concepts and key statements into an integrated description of the phenomena under study. By using qualitative research results and accompanying qualitative data we were able to synthesize a theory describing the PTG journey of female survivors of IPV from their own perspective. In the presentation of the theory, we used text, tables and a figure describing and explaining their journey. We conclude that when synthesizing qualitative data and findings from qualitative studies into theories, a theory synthesis is a valid method. All theories must be tested and revised through concept revision and statement revision in the light of new knowledge. To further develop this theory, more research is also needed due to the gap of research in this field.


qualitative research, theory development, theory synthesis, post-traumatic growth (PTG), intimate partner violence (IPV)

Author Bio(s)

Hulda S. Bryngeirsdottir RN MSc PhD (https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1925-9587) is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Graduate studies in Health Sciences at the School of Health, Business and Natural Sciences at the University of Akureyri in Iceland. Her field of research is post-traumatic growth (PTG). She has conducted research on PTG following traumatic events and her latest work is research on PTG of female survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV). Hulda has an extensive experience in working with people suffering various problems and trauma, as well as with survivors of IPV, in the fields of health, education, vocational rehabilitation and management. Correspondence concerning this manuscript should be addressed to hulda@unak.is

Sigridur Halldorsdottir (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0629-4428) is a professor at the University of Akureyri. She earned a doctorate (Med. Dr.) from Linköping University in Sweden in 1996, a master‘s degree from the University of British Colombia in Vancouver Canada in 1988 and a B.Sc. degree from the University of Iceland in 1978. She has taught research methodology for a few decades, been the editor of a few books on research methodology (Handbook of Research Methodology) and published research papers on the various aspects of the lives of vulnerable and marginalized people. Correspondence concerning this manuscript should be addressed to sigridur@unak.is.

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