skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 218577 Find in a Library
Title: Rethinking Current Approaches to Psychological Abuse: Conceptual and Methodological Issues
Journal: Aggression and Violent Behavior: A Review Journal  Volume:12  Issue:4  Dated:July-August 2007  Pages:439-458
Author(s): Diane R, Follingstad
Date Published: July 2007
Page Count: 20
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article considers conceptual and methodological issues regarding current approaches to understanding and measuring psychological abuse.
Abstract: Four main problems are identified in terms of how researchers currently conceptualize and measure “psychological abuse:” (1) the term “psychological abuse” has never been adequately defined, validated, or conceptually anchored to provide a sound basis for its measurement; (2) psychological aggression in adult intimate relationships has been investigated in parallel fashion to physical abuse; (3) research regarding psychological aggression is limited if it involves only self-report data and the contexts for interpersonal interactions are not considered; and (4) the current measurement of psychological abuse is not sophisticated enough to capture the phenomenon it purports to measure. The author discusses each of these criticisms in turn, noting that the concept of psychological abuse has been too broadly defined and too quickly applied without a consideration for women’s issues or human sensitivity. The author goes on to point out the lack of consensus about what psychological abuse entails, the dangers of relying on self-report data from those who claim victimization, and the lack of research attention to the context in which the psychological abuse occurred as well as a general lack of research interest on the impact and outcomes of the psychological abuse. Future studies should consider examining the decisionmaking principles involved in labeling behaviors by lay and professional populations. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Emotional Abuse/Harm; Psychological victimization effects; Verbal abuse
Index Term(s): Literature reviews; Research and development; Research methods
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.