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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 228663 Find in a Library
Title: Protective Functions of Social Support and Coping for Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Abuse
Journal: Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, & Trauma  Volume:18  Issue:5  Dated:July-August 2009  Pages:443-458
Author(s): Brittany E. Canady; Julia C. Babcock
Date Published: August 2009
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study of 114 female victims of domestic abuse assessed 2 alternative models of protective factors that mitigate the effects of intimate partner abuse on victims’ health: 1 in which social support is proposed to mediate the violence-health relation, and a second in which coping is proposed to mediate this association while social support would moderate the abuse-coping association.
Abstract: The study found that domestic-violence was associated with the victim’s poor mental health, and the coping strategies used by the victim in dealing with domestic violence either mitigated or aggravated the effects of domestic violence on mental health. Physical health was apparently related to mental health status, instead of being directly caused by the physical abuse. This suggests that the link between domestic violence and physical health is created by the effect of the violence on mental health; coping strategies and potentially social support are factors linked to the extent to which domestic violence impairs mental health, which in turn impacts physical health. The findings suggest that the more social support victims perceive, the more likely they are to use coping methods that address the emotions that stem from the abusive interactions, whether they are physical, psychological, or sexual. In contrast to prior studies, the current study found that coping through disengagement, rather than coping that focused on managing emotions, was related to poor mental health outcomes. Emotion-focused engagement coping strategies in the current study included factors such as humor, acceptance, seeking emotional support, and positive reframing. All of these strategies provide abuse victims with active ways of managing their emotional reactions to abuse. By learning which types of coping techniques lead to the best mental health outcomes for domestic abuse victims, as well as what can increase the use of these techniques, victims of domestic violence are better served. 7 tables and 33 references
Main Term(s): Female victims
Index Term(s): Coping; Domestic assault; Mental disorders; Mental health; Psychological victimization effects; Social conditions
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