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Effects of Battered Women's Early Responses on Later Abuse Patterns

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Abused women (N = 234) were interviewed using a structured questionnaire to determine whether violence increases during the course of an abusive relationship. Comparisons were made between women with short-term violence and long-term abusive relationships to assess whether strategies used by victims during early incidents affected the duration of the violence. Women out of the relationship were also contrasted with women still in the relationship. The data supported the picture of increasing abuse for 18 months with a relatively stable rate from then on. The number of forms of abuse and the severity of them tended to quickly increase over early events. Women with short-term violence were more likely to make plans following early incidents, typically involving changing the marital situation. Whether experiencing short-term or long-term abuse, battered women perceived their own sanctions on the abusers as responsible for the cessation of the violence. Continued investigation is necessary to replicate these findings and to identify strategies for reducing violence while women are in the relationship.

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology University of South Carolina

Publication date: January 1, 1992

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