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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136989 Find in a Library
Title: Therapists' Perceptions of Severity in Cases of Family Violence
Journal: Violence and Victims  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:(Fall 1991)  Pages:225-235
Author(s): M Hansen; M Harway; N Cervantes
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 11
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This survey of 362 members of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy sought to determine their abilities to diagnose and intervene appropriately in cases of family violence.
Abstract: Respondents were 53 percent female and 47 percent male. Most described themselves as marriage and family therapists. There were no statistical differences between respondents of different professional identifications. Two virtually identical forms of a questionnaire were mailed, each to half the sample. In each one, a case in which family violence was involved was presented to the respondents. Both cases were actual situations that involved extreme incidents of domestic violence. The questionnaire requested background information from the therapist, presented the case, and subsequently asked a series of open-ended questions about diagnosis and intervention in the case. Forty percent of the respondents did not address the very dangerous conflict between family members, and almost none of them recognized the potential for lethality, even though this is a frequent outcome in cases of domestic violence. Those respondents who acknowledged the violence in these cases often intervened inappropriately, as they focused on the marital dynamics rather than the violence. The crisis nature of the case was not recognized in the interventions recommended by the majority of the sample. These findings are consistent with those of Goodstein and Page (1981), who found that the majority of therapists who work with women victims of violence fail to explore the violence. 7 tables, 13 references, and appended cases and questionnaire
Main Term(s): Domestic assault
Index Term(s): Abused women; Counselors; Psychological evaluation; Spouse abuse detection
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