Theorizing the process of leaving: Turning points and trajectories in the stages of change

Lyndal Khaw, Jennifer L. Hardesty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The Stages of Change Model (J. O. Prochaska & C. C. DiClemente, 1984) has been used to explore women's process of leaving relationships involving intimate partner violence. Using a strengths-based approach, this study aims to build upon the model to further theorize the process of leaving. We conducted secondary data analysis of interviews with 19 mothers who left their abusive husbands. Turning points marked mothers' movements from one stage of change to another, resulting in linear and nonlinear trajectories of leaving. All turning points were similar across cases except for the turning point between the stages of action and preparation. Consequently, 3 variations in the trajectories of leaving were found. The theoretical and practical implications for future work with abused mothers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-425
Number of pages13
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Abused mothers
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Process of leaving
  • Stages of Change Model
  • Trajectories
  • Turning points


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