The purpose of this study was to examine the physical activity experiences of survivors of domestic violence in relation to how they view themselves and their circumstances. The participants were 7 women who had been in abusive relationships. They were given access to an exercise facility and participated in 1 to 4 interviews regarding abuse history, physical activity levels, self-view, and emotional status. Qualitative analysis revealed that physical activity gave women a sense of accomplishment and improved their mental and emotional status, gave them hope and healing, a sense of being “normal,” of working toward a future self, and freedom. These findings support the consideration of physical activity participation for survivors of domestic abuse.
The authors are with the Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science, Langton Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331.