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Psychological Effects of Domestic Violence

Sociology of the Family 12.3.12
by Kristen Heller on 9 April 2013

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Transcript of Psychological Effects of Domestic Violence

Kristen Heller
Peter Mendelson
Sociology of the Family The Psychological Effects
of Domestic Violence Domestic Violence will effect victims in numerous ways:
1) Effects of the Psychological well-being
2) Effects of Physical Health
3) Evidence of Long-Term Damage
4) Effects on Employability
5) Economic Hardships The Ripple Effect Understanding the Effects of Domestic Violence Victims will often form phobias that were not previously present, such as fear of being alone (Autophobia), fear of imperfection (Atelophobia), and if the violence is on a physical level, then often victims will have fear of being touched (Aphenphosmphobia).

Victims will form high levels of anxiety which normally result in being medicated.

Victims will form high levels of self-esteem and become over protective of themselves- constantly checking their surroundings for their abuser. Psychological Well-Being Along with depression, domestic violence victims may also experience Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by symptoms such as flashbacks, intrusive imagery, nightmares, anxiety, emotional numbing, insomnia, hyper-vigilance, and avoidance of traumatic triggers. Several empirical studies have explored the relationship between experiencing domestic violence and developing PTSD. Vitanza, Vogel, and Marshall (1995) interviewed 93 women reporting to be in long-term, stressful relationships. The researchers looked at the relationships among psychological abuse, severity of violence in the relationship, and PTSD. The results of the study showed a significant correlation between domestic violence and PTSD. In each group in the study (psychological abuse only, moderate violence, and severe violence), women scored in the significant range for PTSD. Overall, 55.9% of the sample met diagnostic criteria for PTSD. In further support of the strong relationship between domestic violence and PTSD, Mertin and Mohr (2000), interviewed 100 women in Australian shelters, each of whom had experienced domestic violence. They found that 45 of the 100 women met diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Psychological Well-Being Psychological Abuse:
Why it Matters- Mertin, P. & Mohr, P.B. (2000). Incidence and Correlates of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Australian Victims of Domestic Violence. Journal of Family Violence, 15, 411-422. References Domestic violence physically, psychologically and socially affects women, men and their families. Initially, the abuse usually is an attempt by one partner to exert control through intimidation, fear, verbal abuse or threats of violence.
Victims of domestic violence may be isolated from friends, family and neighbors and lose their network of social support. With time, the abusive partner, or batterer, may use increasingly severe methods to maintain control.
Eventually the violence may lead to serious injury and can result in hospitalization, or death. Panic disorders, phobias, anxieties and depression of abuse survivors is markedly different than ordinary phobias, anxieties and panic disorders which are not based in fact or traumatic experience, as they are in abuse survivors (Herman, 1992). While the primary and immediate focus for many people is the physical injury suffered by victims, the emotional and psychological abuse inflicted by batterers likely has longer term impacts and may be more costly to treat in the short-run than physical injury. (Straus, 1986, 1988, 1990).

Depression remains the foremost response, with 60% of battered women reporting depression (Barnett, 2000).

In addition, battered women are at greater risk for suicide attempts, with 25% of suicide attempts by Caucasian women and 50% of suicide attempts by African American women preceded by abuse (Fischbach & Herbert, 1997). *Note: I will not get into the different aspects of The Ripple Effect, as it will be outline by other members of this team. Straus, M. A. (1990). Injury and Frequency of Assault and the Representative Sample Fallacy in Measuring Wife Beating and Child Abuse. In M. A. Straus & R. J. Gelles (Eds.), Physical violence in American Families: Risk Factors and Adaptations to Violence in 8,145 Families (pp. 75-91). New Brunswick, NJ; Transaction. Barnett, O.W. (2000). Why battered women do not leave, part 1: External inhibiting factors within society. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 1, 343-372. Fischbach, R.L. & Herbert, B. (1997). Domestic Violence and Mental Health: Correlates and Conundrums Within and Across Cultures. Social Science Medicine, 45, 1161-1176. Herman, (1992). Trauma and recovery. NY: Basic Books. Psychological abuse is the systematic perpetration of malicious and explicit nonphysical acts against an intimate partner, child, or dependent adult. This can include threatening the physical health of the victim and the victim’s loved ones, controlling the victim’s freedom, and effectively acting to destabilize or isolate the victim. Psychological abuse frequently occurs prior to or concurrently with physical or sexual abuse. What is Psychological Abuse? Examples of Psychological Abuse include:
1) Denying the victim access to money or economic support.
2) Harassing the victim at work or school.
3) Threatening to injure, permanently disfigure, or to kill the victim or his/her loved ones.
4) Preventing the victim from eating, sleeping, or leaving his/her place of residence. The Effects of Psychological Abuse: 1) Poor physical health
2) Difficulty concentrating
3) Emotional/Mental impairment
4) Poor work/school performance
5) Higher likelihood of illegal drug and/or alcohol use
6) Suicidal thoughts/attempts Did You Know? 1) 95% of men who physically abuse their intimate partners also psychologically abuse them.
2) Psychologically abusive men are more likely use a weapon against their partners, have prior criminal arrests, abuse substances, and haveemployment problems.
3) An employed woman with an unemployed
partner is more than twice as likely to be
psychologically abused by her partner.
4) Having a physical disability increases a
woman’s risk of psychological abuse by 83%.
5) Women who earned the majority of household income are likely to be psychologically abused.
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