CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles


Factors Moderating Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Battered Women


Physical and psychological symptoms of battered women were investigated based on the theory that their ongoing victimization would produce stress-related symptoms. It was hypothesized that moderating variables (e.g., frequency and severity of abuse, predictability and controllability of abuse, social support networks) would influence the effects of abuse. Battered women (N = 234) were interviewed according to a structured format which allowed for behavioral indices of the data and categorization of the women''s responses. Results indicated that frequency of abuse was a strong predictor of the number and severity of symptoms. Those women who could predict abuse experienced more symptoms. Severity of physical and psychological symptoms was predicted by a model including women with more injuries requiring medical attention, women adhering to traditional sex role values, and the presence of one type of emotional abuse. Battered women perceived their physical and emotional health as deteriorating during the relationship and during the abuse, but as getting healthier after the abuse ended. Future research needs to replicate these findings with a representative group of battered women who are still in the battering relationship.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Journal of Family Violence, v. 6, issue 1, p. 81-95.

Dr. Diane Follingstad had not been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky at the time of publication.

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