Master's Theses

Date of Award

Summer 2006

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Carrie Nassif

Abstract

Domestic violence is typically defined as violence against women by their intimate partner. However, some argue that the definition should be broadened to include nonviolent acts, such as stalking and psychological/emotional abuse (Kilpatrick. 2003; Tjaden, 2004). Furthermore, domestic violence does not just occur when a man abuses a woman; a woman can also abuse a man or another woman, or a man another man. Using frequency of assaults (rather than severity), research has shown that physical abuse occurs in equal rates among men and women (Archer, 2000; Straus & Gelles, 1990). Over the past ten years, the rate of family violence has decreased (BJS, 2002). However, domestic violence remains a wide-spread problem affecting both adults and children. Past theories focus on the reasons why women stay in an abusive relationship; however, they do not attempt to understand why some women enter an abusive relationship and others do not. The current study suggests a new theory, whose goal is to not only explain why it is difficult for women to leave, but also to explain why some women stay and other women leave. The purpose of the current study is to take past research and theory about domestic violence and combine it with other current theory better understand why some victims stay and others go. Hope theory will be the main focus to explain this occurrence. This study suggests that hope is related to the amount of time spent in an abusive relationship, with agency displaying some moderating effects.

Rights

Copyright 2006 Christina Wolf

Comments

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