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Blame, depression and coping in battered women Porter, Carol Anne 1983

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BLAME, DEPRESSION AND COPING IN BATTERED WOMEN by CAROL ANNE PORTER B.A., Denison University, 1971 M.A., University of Br i t i s h Columbia, 1978 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Psychology) February 1983 Carol Anne Porter, 1983 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements fo r an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of PsycH-QLO&y  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 DE-6 (3/81) Donald G. Dutton i i Abstract The focus of this study was the i n t e r r e l a t i o n among the causal a t t r i b u t i o n s , a f f e c t i v e reactions, and coping effectiveness of battered women. F i f t y female residents of a shelter for battered women were interviewed in depth, and shelter counselors rated each woman on a measure of coping effectiveness. Consistent with predictions, both at t r i b u t i o n s and emotional state were related to coping. The major deviation from the hypothesized relationship, however, was the finding that self-blame at t r i b u t i o n s were not related to ef f e c t i v e coping while another measure, women's perceptions of the degree of contingency between aspects of themselves and their partners' abusive behavior, was highly related to successful adjustment. As predicted, posi t i v e emotional state correlated with e f f e c t i v e coping. The hypothesized r e l a t i o n between at t r i b u t i o n s of blame and af f e c t i v e state was not supported. While subjects' perceptions of a v o i d a b i l i t y were not related to coping as predicted, i t was found that both perceived contingency and a decision not to return to the abusive situation were p o s i t i v e l y correlated with perceptions of the abuse as unavoidable. F i n a l l y , several variables distinguished the group of women who returned from those who did not. Those who returned were characterized by negative a f f e c t , a tendency to blame their partners, previous departures from the abusive situation, shorter durations of violence than those who did not return, and were more l i k e l y to perceive the abuse as avoidable. The concept of perceived contingency and in p a r t i c u l a r the difference between th i s measure and self-blame, i s discussed at length because i t has implications for both t h e o r e t i c a l and applied concerns. The absence of a r e l a t i o n between att r i b u t i o n s and a f f e c t i s also discussed in some d e t a i l since an a t t r i b u t i o n - a f f e c t l i n k has received strong support in other psychological research. Problems associated with the d e f i n i t i o n and measurement of coping are discussed, and f i n a l l y , the implications of the findings for both a t t r i b u t i o n theory and research and practice in the area of domestic violence are presented. TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i L i s t Of Tables v i Introduction 1 Causal Attributions And Personal Outcomes 3 Blaming The Victim ..20 Victims Of Domestic Violence 26 The Research Problem 39 Hypotheses 41 Method 44 Subjects 44 Procedure 45 Measures .47 Procedural Modifications 53 Behavioral Versus Characterological Blame 53 Perception Of Contingency 54 Results 57 Affect And Blame At t r i b u t i o n s : Composite Scores 57 Hypothesis 1: Interrelationships Among Attributions And Affect 63 Hypotheses 2 And 3: Predictors Of Coping 65 Hypothesis 4: Avo i d a b i l i t y And Coping 67 Hypothesis 5: Predictors Of Future Behavior (Outcome) ..68 Results: Open-ended Responses 72 Discussion 82 V Predictors Of Coping 82 The Relationship Between Affect And Attributions 98 Av o i d a b i l i t y And Outcome 105 Coping: D e f i n i t i o n s And Measurement 109 Implications 112 Footnotes 125 Reference Notes 127 References 128 Appendices 137 v i LIST OF TABLES TABLE I : Int e r c o r r e l a t i o n s among Measures of Aff e c t 58 TABLE II : Factor Loading Matrices 59 TABLE I I I : Frequencies: Blame and Perceived Contingency 61 TABLE IV : Inte r c o r r e l a t i o n s among A t t r i b u t i o n Measures 62 TABLE V : Correlations among A f f e c t , Blame and Contingency .... 64 TABLE VI : Regression Analysis: Predictors of Coping 66 TABLE VII: Hotelling's T 2 and Discriminant Analysis 71 1 INTRODUCTION Two of . the most common assumptions made by s o c i a l psychologists are that people are motivated to organize and understand th e i r s o c i a l world and that the ways in which people perceive and comprehend their s o c i a l world are important determinants of their behavior (Heider, 1958; Jones & Gerard, 1964). One of the fundamental ways in which people organize the i r experiences and find meaning in events i s in terms of caus a l i t y . In recent years s o c i a l psychologists have attempted to determine the p r i n c i p l e s that guide causal explanation as well as the behavioral and a f f e c t i v e consequences of causal analysis. These two enterprises together comprise the theo r e t i c a l perspective known as a t t r i b u t i o n theory (Harvey & Weary, 1981). An a t t r i b u t i o n i s an inference about why an event occurred or about the causes of one's own or another's behavior. The seminal statement of a t t r i b u t i o n theory i s found in the writing of F r i t z Heider (1958) who analyzed commonsense theories that people use in understanding the underlying causes of events they observe in their d a i l y l i v e s . One example of the importance of our causal analysis of behavior occurs in our legal system. Whether a given behavior i s considered "criminal" depends not only on the nature of i t s consequences, but on the degree of intentionality.and the type of motivation that i s attributed to the actor. Our reactions to outcomes as well as to behavior are also affected by our explanations. How one reacts to experiences of success and f a i l u r e , for example, appears to be contingent upon one's causal 2 analysis of the outcome: success attributed to one's a b i l i t y i s reacted to more p o s i t i v e l y than success due to luck, whereas f a i l u r e i s reacted to more negatively i f attr i b u t e d to a b i l i t y rather than luck (e.g., Weiner et a l . , 1979). These d i s t i n c t i o n s i l l u s t r a t e a general p r i n c i p l e guiding a t t r i b u t i o n a l analyses that was f i r s t a r t i c u l a t e d by Heider (1958): behavior i s seen either as caused by factors within the person (int e r n a l cause) or by those outside the person (external cause). Internal causes refer to an individual's personal q u a l i t i e s such as a b i l i t y or motivation, whereas external causes refer to forces in the situation surrounding the in d i v i d u a l , such as task d i f f i c u l t y or luck. A p a r t i c u l a r l y interesting area of research within the at t r i b u t i o n t r a d i t i o n concerns the relationship between causal a t t r i b u t i o n s for negative l i f e events and a person's reactions to those events. The in t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p among causal a t t r i b u t i o n s , emotional responses and coping c a p a b i l i t i e s for one p a r t i c u l a r negative l i f e event, domestic violence, i s the focus of th i s thesis. Research that has investigated the relationship between causal at t r i b u t i o n s and personal outcomes w i l l be reviewed below, followed by a review of the l i t e r a t u r e in s o c i a l psychology that deals with a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame and vi c t i m i z a t i o n . F i n a l l y , a review of the ex i s t i n g l i t e r a t u r e on battered women and domestic violence w i l l follow. 3 Causal Attributions and Personal Outcomes Investigations of the relationship between causal at t r i b u t i o n s and personal outcomes can be divided roughly into two categories. The f i r s t category i s concerned with the relati o n s h i p between cognitions (attributions) and mood states. What has been explored here i s the li n k between at t r i b u t i o n s and an individual's a f f e c t i v e or emotional reaction to a given outcome. For purposes of the present organization , t h i s l i t e r a t u r e can be divided into research focusing on what w i l l be c a l l e d "trait-measures" of affe c t and that focusing on "state-measures" of a f f e c t . It i s the goal of researchers studying trait-measures of af f e c t to compare the at t r i b u t i o n s of individuals, with c h r o n i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t mood states. Work that exemplifies t h i s approach has examined the patterns of att r i b u t i o n s made by depressed versus nondepressed people (e.g., Abramson, Seligman, & Teasdale, 1978). In b r i e f , these theorists contend that depressed people explain events with a consistent a t t r i b u t i o n a l style that not only leads to but, once established, maintains their depressive mood. Research dealing with state-measures of a f f e c t , on the other hand, has focused on the r e l a t i v e l y immediate and short-term emotional consequences of success and f a i l u r e experiences. In t h i s work i t i s proposed (e.g., Weiner et a l . , 1979) that the causal a t t r i b u t i o n s people make for s p e c i f i c achievement outcomes w i l l influence their a f f e c t i v e reactions to those outcomes. The second category of research i s concerned with the 4 relati o n s h i p between people's behavioral adjustment to negative events and their causal analyses of these events. "Behavioral adjustment" i s used here as a general term that encompasses a variety of reactions to negative events, including coping with para l y s i s , post-divorce adaptation, and marital s a t i s f a c t i o n . Relationship of Cognitions and Mood States Causal a t t r i b u t i o n s and trait-measures of a f f e c t . An extensive body of l i t e r a t u r e supports the general contention that causal inference processes are s i g n i f i c a n t in the etiology and maintenance of chronic depressed a f f e c t , or more simply, depression (Alloy, in press). There are two the o r e t i c a l models of depression that prominently feature cognitive processes. The f i r s t of these i s Beck's (1967, 1976) model of depression that is based on c l i n i c a l observations of depressed patients; the second i s a reformulated model of learned helplessness and depression in humans (Abramson et a l . , 1978) which stemmed from Seligman's (1975) learned helplessness paradigm. The l a t t e r model, and p a r t i c u l a r l y i t s reformulation, has generated more empirical work than .the former and w i l l be discussed here in some depth. Research with both animal and human laboratory subjects led Seligman and his associates (e.g., Seligman, 1974) to propose that maladaptive consequences including depression result from the r e a l i z a t i o n that one's actions and outcomes are independent. In early studies with animals, for example, i t was shown that dogs exposed to shocks that they could not avoid behaved passively in a new aversive si t u a t i o n from which escape was 5 possible. Similar results have been reported in research with human subjects (e.g., Hiroto, 1974). It has been shown that individuals exposed to aversive noise that they could not control subsequently listened passively to the stimulus in conditions when they were in fact able to terminate the noise (Abramson et a l . , 1978). Based on these findings, Seligman (1975) proposed a helplessness theory of depression, the basic postulate of which is that many of the symptoms of depression, such as helplessness, hopelessness and negative a f f e c t , occur when people believe that they cannot control important outcomes in t h e i r l i v e s . The induced expectancy that one's responses are i n e f f e c t i v e was hypothesized to interfere with e f f e c t i v e responding in situations in which control was possible. In order to resolve a number of inadequacies of the o r i g i n a l learned helplessness model, Abramson, Seligman and Teasdale (1978) proposed a reformulated model based on a t t r i b u t i o n theory. In b r i e f , they argued that when people find that they are helpless, they ask themselves why they are helpless. The kinds of causal at t r i b u t i o n s people make for their i n a b i l i t y to control outcomes, in turn, are presumed to influence their reactions, s p e c i f i c a l l y their self-esteem and the generality and chronicity of their symptoms of helplessness and depression. Three dimensions of causal a t t r i b u t i o n s were deemed c r i t i c a l for explaining helplessness and depression: i n t e r n a l -external, stable-unstable, and g l o b a l - s p e c i f i c . Abramson et a l . (1978) hypothesized that people w i l l a t t r i b u t e outcomes to 6 themselves (internal factors) i f they believe that these outcomes are more or less l i k e l y to happen to themselves than to relevant others. Stable causal factors are seen as long-lived or recurrent r e l a t i v e to unstable factors, and an a t t r i b u t i o n to global factors suggests that such factors should a f f e c t a wide variety of outcomes. For example, an individual who attributes a low exam score to lack of i n t e l l i g e n c e i s making an a t t r i b u t i o n that i s i n t e r n a l , stable and global. According to these the o r i s t s , when people believe that they have no control over the important goals in t h e i r l i v e s and a t t r i b u t e t h i s u n c o n t r o l l a b i l i t y to i n t e r n a l , stable and global factors, they are l i k e l y to show symptoms of helplessness, as well as depressed a f f e c t and loss of self-esteem. In order to test t h i s model, patterns of causal inference have been examined in depressed and nondepressed in d i v i d u a l s . Abramson et a l . (1978) speculated that individuals d i f f e r in a t t r i b u t i o n a l style and postulated the existence of a "depressive a t t r i b u t i o n a l s t y l e . " An A t t r i b u t i o n a l Styles Scale was developed by Seligman, Abramson, Semmel and Von Baeyer (1979) to assess the content of people's causal a t t r i b u t i o n s . Twelve hypothetical situations are presented to subjects, half of which are interpersonally oriented and half achievement oriented. Further, each cl a s s of situations contains three po s i t i v e and three negative outcomes. For each s i t u a t i o n , subjects indicate the cause of the outcome, i t s importance, and rate i t for degree of i n t e r n a l i t y , s t a b i l i t y , and g l o b a l i t y . For example, "You meet a friend who acts hostiley toward you" i s a 7 negative interpersonal s i t u a t i o n , for which subjects suggest one cause and then rate whether the cause i s due to something about themselves or to external factors, w i l l be present in future encounters, and w i l l influence other areas of their l i v e s . In their i n i t i a l study, Seligman et a l . (1979) examined the r e l a t i o n between a t t r i b u t i o n a l style and degree of depression among university students. The Short Form of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI, Beck & Beck, 1972) was employed as a measure of depression, as well as the depression scale from the Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist (MAACL, Zuckerman & Lubin, 1965). One hundred and forty-three undergraduate students completed the a t t r i b u t i o n scales, the BDI, and the MAACL during class time. In completing the A t t r i b u t i o n a l Style Scale, subjects were asked to v i v i d l y imagine themselves in the situations presented, and " i f such a situation happened to you, what would you f e e l would have caused i t ." Results indicated that compared to nondepressed students, "depressed" students (that i s , high scorers on the BDI) attributed negative outcomes to i n t e r n a l , stable and global factors. It was contended that these findings provided support for the reformulated model of learned helplessness and depression and moreover, revealed the existence of a depressive a t t r i b u t i o n a l s t y l e . Similar findings with undergraduate populations have been reported (see, e.g., Kuiper, 1978; Rizley, 1978). To take one example, Kuiper separated female university students into depressed and nondepressed groups on the basis of pr i o r testing. After a word association task with varied 8 reinforcement, subjects made at t r i b u t i o n s for their task outcomes..While nondepressed students made external a t t r i b u t i o n s for a f a i l u r e outcome, the a t t r i b u t i o n s made by depressed subjects for a f a i l u r e were i n t e r n a l . Beck (1967, 1976) also assigns p a r t i c u l a r importance to maladaptive causal inferences in the etiology and maintenance of depression. According to Beck, depressed people view themselves, the i r world, and their future in a negative way. They tend to attribute negative outcomes to defects within themselves, and consequently have low self-esteem and often experience g u i l t . Whereas the reformulated model of helplessness and depression does not specify the psychological processes that may underlie depressive causal inferences, Beck attempts to describe these processes. In Beck's view, the thinking of depressed people i s characterized by systematic errors or d i s t o r t i o n s . For example, he hypothesizes that depressives tend to accept u n c r i t i c a l l y the v a l i d i t y of their inferences and that they tend not to consider information that might disconfirm these inferences. The reformulated model also d i f f e r s from Beck's theory in that the former suggests that both depressed and nondepressed people may exhibit errors and d i s t o r t i o n s in making causal inferences. Beck's model, on the other hand, implies that in general only depressives show such i n f e r e n t i a l d i s t o r t i o n s (Abramson & Martin, 1981). In a review of this model, Abramson and Martin (1981) reported that Beck's predictions regarding causal inferences made by depressed people are only now being tested empirically, and thus to date supportive evidence stems 9 primarily from c l i n i c a l observations. While the strength of Beck's model of depression resides in his extensive c l i n i c a l work, the lack of c l i n i c a l data to support the reformulated helplessness model has been c i t e d by a number of researchers as a c r i t i c a l weakness (e.g., Depue & Monroe, 1978; Gong-Guy & Hammen, 1980; Gotlib & Olson, Note 1). Although Abramson et a l . (1978) hypothesize that a continuity exists between the more mild s u b c l i n i c a l forms of depression presumably experienced by university students and severe c l i n i c a l depression, t h i s remains a controversial issue as i s demonstrated in a study by Gong-Guy and Hammen (1980) where cognitions about the causes and consequences of recent s t r e s s f u l l i f e events were examined in depressed and nondepressed outpatients. While the groups d i f f e r e d when only the most upsetting events were compared, no ove r a l l differences between depressed and nondepressed individuals were found when a l l st r e s s f u l events were included in the comparison. These findings led Gong-Guy and Hammen to question the generality and u t i l i t y of the reformulated helplessness model for characterizing depressive cognitions in samples and situations d i f f e r e n t from university populations. Abramson et a l . contend that certain a t t r i b u t i o n a l patterns may lead normal (nondepressed) people to eventually become depressed. Neither they nor Beck consider the alternative view that being in a depressed state may lead people to make maladaptive causal inferences. Although Abramson and Martin (1981) state that further research i s necessary to elucidate 10 more f u l l y the d i r e c t i o n a l i t y of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between a t t r i b u t i o n a l style and depression, they nevertheless strongly advocate that changing people's causal ascriptions about events may make them less vulnerable to depressive episodes. S i m i l a r l y , • Beck has developed "cognitive therapy" techniques to help depressives interpret their behaviors and outcomes d i f f e r e n t l y . Causal a t t r i b u t i o n s and state-measures of a f f e c t . Weiner and his associates (e.g., Weiner et a l . , 1978; 1979) have attempted to search for a t t r i b u t i o n a l determinants of af f e c t within the context of achievement settings. The focus of their more recent work has been the association between a t t r i b u t i o n s for success and f a i l u r e and the intensity of emotional experiences. A fundamental assumption of t h i s research i s that the causal a t t r i b u t i o n s one makes for an achievement outcome influence the way one feels about that outcome. More formally, a t t r i b u t i o n s mediate between success and f a i l u r e experiences and emotional expression. The causes of success and f a i l u r e are described within a two-dimensional framework consisting of an internal-external factor and a stable-unstable factor. A b i l i t y , e f f o r t and mood, for example, are properties internal to the person, whereas task d i f f i c u l t y and luck are external causes of achievement outcomes. Both a b i l i t y and task d i f f i c u l t y are l i k e l y to be perceived as r e l a t i v e l y fixed, or stable causes, while luck, e f f o r t and mood are generally perceived as unstable causes of success or f a i l u r e . What Weiner and his colleagues have hypothesized i s that s p e c i f i c causal ascriptions are associated with s p e c i f i c 11 emotional reactions. In t h e i r i n i t i a l investigation, Weiner et a l . (1978) had university students read a brief story format describing an individual in an exam s i t u a t i o n , who either succeeded or f a i l e d for a given reason ( a t t r i b u t i o n ) . Subjects were asked to rate what feelings would be experienced in th i s s i t u a t i o n , using a previously compiled "dictionary" l i s t of potential a f f e c t i v e reactions. It was assumed that subjects would project their own emotional experiences upon the characters in the vignette, and that the labels provided r e f l e c t e d the " r e a l " experiences of subjects. The results of t h i s investigation indicated that for both success and f a i l u r e outcomes, disparate a t t r i b u t i o n s (including a t t r i b u t i o n s to e f f o r t , personality, luck, and a b i l i t y ) gave ri s e to d i s t i n c t emotional fee l i n g s . For example, feelings of self-enhancement were reported when a successful exam score was attributed to one's personality, whereas the same a t t r i b u t i o n for an unsuccessful outcome was associated with feelings of resignation. Attributions to luck for success yielded surprise, and a t t r i b u t i n g a f a i l u r e to one's a b i l i t y was related to feelings of incompetence. In a follow-up study, Weiner et a l . (1979) sought to improve on the methodological shortcomings of their i n i t i a l i nvestigation. For example, subjects' own experiences with success or f a i l u r e were used as stimuli in place of standard vignettes describing an individual in an exam s i t u a t i o n . In this experiment, subjects were f i r s t asked to relate a personal 12 experience of success or f a i l u r e , in which they had attributed the outcome to a s p e c i f i c cause, such as help from others. They were then asked to indicate how they f e l t , both in a free response format and on a c h e c k l i s t of seven a f f e c t i v e experiences known from previous research to be associated with the outcome. The stated goal of this investigation was to determine i f the emotions linked with internal causal ascriptions clustered together and d i f f e r e d from emotions associated with external a s c r i p t i o n s . The results of t h i s study indicated that a number of s p e c i f i c causal a t t r i b u t i o n s are associated with d i s t i n c t a f f e c t i v e reactions. For instance, for successful outcomes, pride, competence and s a t i s f a c t i o n were more l i k e l y to be experienced given internal than external a t t r i b u t i o n s , and external a t t r i b u t i o n s were more c l o s e l y t i e d with gratitude, thankfulness, surprise and g u i l t . In discussing the relevance of their findings for theories of emotion, Weiner et a l . (1978) contend that "cognitions are necessary and s u f f i c i e n t causes of emotion" (p.84) and they suggest that future work in the area should focus more closely on the cognitive, or a t t r i b u t i o n a l , determinants of emotion. Relationship of Cognitions and Behavioral Adjustment Investigators of people's reactions to negative events have become increasingly concerned that the l i m i t a t i o n s of the laboratory preclude a r e a l i s t i c assessment of how people respond to and cope with re a l l i f e trauma. In the research discussed above, for example, c r i t i c i s m s have been leveled against the use of university instead of c l i n i c a l populations in studies of 13 depression, and against methodologies that e l i c i t subjects' reactions to hypothetical situations or contrived tasks with lim i t e d personal meaningfulness (see e.g., Gong-Guy & Hammen, 1980). The research e f f o r t s to be reviewed in th i s section, while stemming from a variety of theoretical orientations, share a common concern in their focus on individuals who have been confronted with unfortunate events in the i r own l i v e s . These events vary in seriousness from marital c o n f l i c t to d e b i l i t a t i n g accidents, but the investigators share an interest in the relatio n s h i p between people's explanations of their situations and how they are adapting to or coping with these outcomes. In a study of post-divorce adjustment, Newman and Langer (1981) explored the p o s s i b i l i t y that the manner in which people think about or explain their divorces i s associated with their a b i l i t y to adapt to the termination of their marriage. These authors hypothesized that the use of "i n t e r a c t i v e " a t t r i b u t i o n s , as opposed to "person" a t t r i b u t i o n s , f a c i l i t a t e adjustment since the former type of explanation enables one to assess more r e a l i s t i c a l l y the reasons why one's marriage had f a i l e d . By interactive a t t r i b u t i o n s the authors refer to explanations which point to features of the couple i t s e l f , such as problems in communication; person a t t r i b u t i o n s are those explanations which point to c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of either the spouse or s e l f . Newman and Langer suggested that person a t t r i b u t i o n s may lead to feelings of self-recrimination or resentment, and the unreasonable search for "the more perfect person." Divorced women were asked to explain the main reason they 1 4 had become divorced and also completed a questionnaire that assessed contentedness and self-esteem. In every case, those "person" a t t r i b u t i o n s c i t e d referred to c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the spouse such as emotional immaturity, psychological problems, or excessive drinking and gambling. Interactive a t t r i b u t i o n s included incompatibility, changing l i f e s t y l e s and lack of communication. The results indicated that subjects who made interactive a t t r i b u t i o n s had a consistently higher opinion of themselves than subjects who blamed the divorce on personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of their spouses. The l a t t e r subjects were in general more unhappy, less optimistic, and saw themselves as less s o c i a l l y active than the former. Because of the c o r r e l a t i o n a l nature of these data, Newman and Langer hastened to point out that i t remains unclear whether interactive explanations for divorce lead to better post-divorce adjustment or whether people who make such a t t r i b u t i o n s tend to be generally happier, more confident, and more active people. The authors nonetheless suggest that the link between inte r a c t i v e attribution-making and factors related to s e l f -esteem i s noteworthy and may prove to be a useful therapeutic t o o l . In a somewhat similar vein, research conducted by Madden and Janoff-Bulman (1981) had as i t s focus the relationship between at t r i b u t i o n s of control and blame for marital c o n f l i c t and marital s a t i s f a c t i o n . It was hypothesized that blaming one's spouse and believing that one does not have control over 15 c o n f l i c t s would be associated with low marital s a t i s f a c t i o n . These hypotheses were derived from e a r l i e r findings that either blaming another for one's misfortune or perceiving l i t t l e control i s associated with poor coping (Bulman & Wortman, 1977). In individual interviews, thirty-two married women were asked to respond to two standard c o n f l i c t situations and two generated by themselves. As well as apportioning blame for the c o n f l i c t s , they were asked a series of questions regarding perceived control, and in addition completed a marital s a t i s f a c t i o n questionnaire. In general the findings provided support for the hypotheses that marital s a t i s f a c t i o n i s negatively associated with husband-blame and p o s i t i v e l y associated with wives* perceived control over c o n f l i c t resolution. The fact that husband-blamers were less s a t i s f i e d in their marriages i s consistent with the findings of Newman and Langer (1981). While self-blame was not d i r e c t l y correlated with marital s a t i s f a c t i o n in the Madden and Janoff-Bulman study, the majority of women who attributed most of the blame to themselves were among the more s a t i s f i e d group of respondents. The authors argue that blaming oneself for negative events may foster the bel i e f that one can control similar events in the future. Because none of the women who participated in the research by Newman and Langer c i t e d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of themselves as reasons for their divorces, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to draw comparisons between these studies with regard to self-blame. However, the positive contribution of perceived control to marital s a t i s f a c t i o n seems to have been borne out in the research by Madden and Janoff-16 Bulman, as women who believed they could a f f e c t marital outcomes were more s a t i s f i e d with their marriages than women who believed they had l i t t l e c ontrol. In attempts to deal r e a l i s t i c a l l y with people's reactions to undesirable l i f e events, Wortman and her coworke-rs (Wortman et ' a l . , 1980) have been investigating people's responses to a variety of negative outcomes in natural settings. Extensive c l i n i c a l exposure to cancer victims and their families provided them with a r i c h source of insights into the coping process, and gave them the opportunity to explore the relevance of existing psychological theories for victims trying to cope with l i f e -threatening i l l n e s s (Wortman & Dunkel-Schetter, 1979). One of the questions to emerge from th i s l i n e of inquiry was whether personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for a traumatic event such as terminal i l l n e s s would f a c i l i t a t e or impede the person's a b l i t y to cope with such an outcome. Those investigators who have commented informally on the a t t r i b u t i o n a l patterns of victims of cancer, for example, have tended to disagree about the relationship of blame and adjustment (e.g., Abrams & Finesinger, 1953; Chodoff et a l . , 1964). In order to examine the re l a t i o n between att r i b u t i o n s of blame and e f f e c t i v e coping, Bulman and Wortman (1977) conducted a study of victims of severe spinal cord i n j u r i e s . Because of i t s relevance to the present thesis, t h i s investigation w i l l be described in some depth. Twenty-nine hospitalized individuals who had been paralyzed in serious accidents were intensively interviewed using both quantitative and open-ended questions to 17 e l i c i t a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame and cau s a l i t y . The subjects were victims of "freak" accidents, accidents that seemed to involve an element of chance, such as automobile or diving accidents, shootings, hang-gliding and f o o t b a l l accidents. On a five-point scale, respondents were asked to indicate how much they blamed themselves, and to apportion blame among themselves, others, environment and chance. They were also asked to what extent they believed they could have avoided what happened, how happy they were, and considering the best and worst things that could happen in their l i f e t i m e , where did their present d i s a b l i t y f i t into the scale. Several questionnaires were administered (e.g., a r e l i g i o s i t y scale), and respondents were also asked both i f they had ever asked "Why me?" and i f so how they had answered t h i s . Coping scores for each patient were obtained from s o c i a l workers and nurses familiar with each case. Individuals were described as coping well i f , for example, they had accepted the r e a l i t y of their injury and were attempting to deal p o s i t i v e l y with the p a r a l y s i s . Poor copers were described as those individuals who expected to improve miraculously, or denied the extent of their i n j u r i e s (Bulman & Wortman, 1977). Analyses were performed to determine both the predictors of self-blame and those of successful coping. Individuals were most l i k e l y to blame themselves i f they believed they could have avoided the accident, i f there were no "adversary other" involved, and i f they were very r e l i g i o u s . Poor coping was predicted by the extent to which victims believed they could 18 have avoided the accident, and the extent to which they blamed another for their fate. Further, the more victims blamed themselves, the better they coped. Additional analyses were performed to shed l i g h t on what appeared to be a complex i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p among perceived a v o i d a b i l i t y , self-blame, and coping. Since the perception that one could have avoided the accident and self-blame were p o s i t i v e l y correlated, i t seemed surprising to the authors that one of these variables (self-blame) was p o s i t i v e l y correlated with e f f e c t i v e coping and the other one (a v o i d a b i l i t y ) was negatively correlated with successful adjustment. By categorizing subjects into high and low scores on the three variables of interest, i t was found that individuals who blamed themselves and who did not f e e l that they could have avoided the accident were more l i k e l y to be good copers than poor copers. However, victims who blamed themselves l i t t l e and f e l t the accident could have been avoided were more l i k e l y to be poor rather than good copers. An examination of the circumstances surrounding the accidents, and the free response comments made by respondents led Bulman and Wortman to suggest that accident victims who were engaging in a freely chosen a c t i v i t y may be able to cope more e f f e c t i v e l y than people victimized in other ways. This suggestion raises the issue of true blameworthiness versus d i s t o r t i o n , a d i f f i c u l t problem encountered when interpreting a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame for real (as opposed to random laboratory) outcomes. In general, however, respondents in t h i s study 19 appeared to assign themselves more blame than "objective circumstances would warrant" (Bulman & Wortman, 1977, p. 361). Even individuals who were accidentally shot were w i l l i n g to take some r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for their fates. Alternative interpretations for these findings can be derived from various t h e o r e t i c a l orientations prevalent in s o c i a l psychological research, p a r t i c u l a r l y the view that people have a need for control which may influence their causal analyses of events in their l i v e s (e.g., Kelley, 1971). This need may motivate individuals to attribute outcomes to modifiable factors, such as themselves, in order to believe that similar events can be avoided in the future. This perspective w i l l be reviewed in more d e t a i l below. Bulman and Wortman further suggest, consistent with a need for control, that the " a b i l i t y to perceive an orderly relationship between one's behavior and one's outcomes i s important for e f f e c t i v e coping" (p. 362). Furthermore, i t was clear from respondents' answers to the question "why me" that the majority of them had entertained hypotheses that indicated a concern for order and meaning. Examples of such responses included those that emphasized the w i l l of God, chance (e.g., responses r e f l e c t i n g the b e l i e f that the accident could have happened to anyone), or reevaluation of the event as p o s i t i v e (e.g., responses indicating that victims had learned a l o t about themselves and others as a result of the accident). Bulman and Wortman suggest that the need to believe that there is an underlying order and meaning to existence may 20 provide a better conceptual framework for their data than the need for a controllable world. They also point out that predictors of e f f e c t i v e coping in accident victims may d i f f e r in important ways from predictors in other victim populations. Blaming the Victim Self-blame has been found to be a common reaction among victims of undesirable l i f e events (Ross & Ditecco, 1975; Wortman, 1976). People frequently take personal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for negative outcomes over which they have had l i t t l e or no cont r o l . Parents of children with leukemia, for example, have been described as trying to prove that something they had done or f a i l e d to do might have been responsible for the ch i l d ' s f a l l i n g i l l (Chodoff et a l . , 1964) and research with 60 cancer patients revealed that 93% had some feelings of g u i l t (Abrams & Finesinger, 1953). A v e r i l l (1968), in a similar vein, noted that people who had lost a loved one frequently respond with feelings of g u i l t for real or imagined transgressions against the deceased. G u i l t and self-blame also appear to be c h a r a c t e r i s t i c reactions of women who have been raped. A survey of rape c r i s i s centers by Janoff-Bulman (1979) found that the mean percentage of women who blamed themselves at least in part for the rape was 74%. Medea and Thompson (1974) speculated that a rape victim may feel g u i l t y i f she had had rape fantasies, or i f she had not taken a l l necessary precautions to prevent the occurrence of rape. G u i l t , shame and self-blame are c i t e d repeatedly as 21 ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s of battered women (Martin, 1978; Prescott & Letco, 1977). Why do victims hold themelves responsible for their fate? C r i t i c i s m has been leveled at helping professionals, psychologists and s o c i a l planners for often overemphasising victims' r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for their problems, a phenomenon labeled "blaming the victim" (Caplan & Nelson, 1974; Maslach, 1976). Because victims are usually powerless and more cont r o l l a b l e than the i r "aggressor" (individual or s o c i e t a l ) , those who try to solve t h e i r problems f i n d i t more expedient to focus on ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the victim that contributed to their v i c t i m i z a t i o n than on less c o n t r o l l a b l e , external factors. In the case of battered women, this tendency may be in part responsible for the b e l i e f that women provoke the violence, and that they do so to s a t i s f y their own masochistic needs (Fields, 1978; Fleming, 1979). Understanding how observers react to a victimized individual has been the focus of much s o c i a l psychological investigation of v i c t i m i z a t i o n . Central to a number of theoretic a l statements i s the suggestion that the judgments people make about others are determined in large part by th e i r own psychological needs. For example , the "just-world theory" posits that people have a need to believe that the world i s a f a i r place where people get what they deserve and where bad things do not happen to good people without j u s t i f i c a t i o n (Lerner & M i l l e r , 1978). According to Lerner, the need to believe in a just world motivates individuals to derogate the 2 2 character or f a u l t the behavior of victims. It i s also the case that people do not want to believe that severe negative outcomes can happen at random (Walster, 1966). Such a b e l i e f would imply to an individual that similar disasters could b e f a l l him or her at any time. Thus people w i l l be motivated to blame the victim, to convince themselves that the victim i s d i f f e r e n t from them, and that they personally could never have suffered a similar fate. The notion that people prefer to assign causality to c o n t r o l l a b l e rather than chance factors i s a central tenet of a t t r i b u t i o n theory (Kelley, 1971). Rather than admit that the world i s a disorderly place where events are dictated by chance, people may prefer to a t t r i b u t e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to factors perceived to be modifiable. These t h e o r e t i c a l models have two d i f f e r e n t implications for victims, both of which could result in self-blame. The f i r s t i s that observers' a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame to the victim are more or less i n t e r n a l i z e d by the victim (e.g., Goffman, 1963). If everyone holds victims responsible for their fate, perhaps they have in fact deserved i t in some way. A second implication focuses on the coping mechanisms employed by victims. Do victims' needs, as well as observers', help to determine what judgments or a t t r i b u t i o n s they w i l l make about the negative event? Such an interpretation was brought to bear by Bulman and Wortman (1977) on their . self-blame data in accident victims. These investigators suggested that the need to perceive an orderly world, as well as a meaningful one, might be important factors that influence the kinds of a t t r i b u t i o n s one 23 makes. Further, following from the theories of Walster (1966) and Kelley (1971) a concern for control would lead one to blame those factors most within one's contr o l . If victims believed their behavior to be modifiable, t h i s need for control would lead them to hold themselves responsible. A similar process has been described in victims of rape: What appears to be g u i l t ... may be the way the woman's mind interprets a positive impulse, a need to be in control of her l i f e . If the woman can believe that somehow she got herself into the s i t u a t i o n , i f she can f e e l that in some way she caused i t , i f she can make herself responsible for i t , then she's established a sort of control over the rape. It wasn't someone a r b i t r a r i l y smashing into her l i f e and wreaking havoc (Medea & Thompson, 1974, p. 105). The notion of a control motivation may also be relevant to battered women, even though they generally describe themselves as helpless and unable to control the batterer's actions. In her c l i n i c a l interviews with abused women, Walker (1979) found that many of them attempted to exert a degree of control over their beatings. Although they accepted the violence as inevitable, they often t r i e d to control the time and place. According to Walker, t h i s small measure of control seemed to be an e f f o r t not to f e e l t o t a l l y helpless. S i m i l a r l y , blaming themselves may constitute a way of perceiving t h e i r s i t u a t i o n as somewhat co n t r o l l a b l e . 24 Two Conceptions of Self-blame Although self-blame may in fact be linked to e f f e c t i v e coping, the relationship appears to be a complex one. A more t r a d i t i o n a l conception of self-blame than a control-oriented response i s one which depicts the phenomenon as maladaptive and a correlate of depression. One prominent theory of depression postulates that the depressive individual i s characterized by a negative cognitive set, and interprets most outcomes as instances of f a i l u r e for which he or she feels responsible (Beck, 1967, 1976). Self-blame i s thus associated here with g u i l t and harsh s e l f - c r i t i c i s m . S i m i l a r l y , in the reformulated model of helplessness and depression (Abramson et a l . , 1978) sp e c i f i c causal inferences (such as internal a t t r i b u t i o n s for negative events) are assumed to have maladaptive implications. E f f o r t s have been made to resolve the two contrasting views by recognizing that two di f f e r e n t types of self-blame may in fact e x i s t , one representing an adaptive, control-oriented response and the other a maladaptive, self-deprecating response (Janoff-Bulman, 1979). Behavioral self-blame i s proposed to be control related in that i t involves a t t r i b u t i o n s to a modifiable source, s p e c i f i c behavioral acts or omissions. On the other hand, characterological self-blame i s esteem related and involves a t t r i b u t i o n s to a r e l a t i v e l y nonmodifiable source, one's character or the sort of person one i s . The case of rape offers an example of the difference between these a t t r i b u t i o n s . A woman can blame herself for having walked home alone (something that she can control in the future) or for being too 25 trusting (a t r a i t that may be d i f f i c u l t to change). Janoff-Bulman (1979) draws a p a r a l l e l between th i s d i s t i n c t i o n and the s t a b i l i t y dimension proposed by Weiner et a l . (1972) in c l a s s i f y i n g a t t r i b u t i o n s for achievement outcomes. She suggests that characterological self-blame corresponds to a stable a t t r i b u t i o n such as a b i l i t y , whereas behavioral self-blame corresponds to an unstable a t t r i b u t i o n such as e f f o r t . In research with college women, Janoff-Bulman found that depressed subjects engaged in more characterological self-blame than did nondepressed subjects. Further support for t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n came from a more recent study of female undergraduates in which the depressive symptoms of subjects correlated with blame directed at their own characters, but blame directed at their own behaviors correlated with lack of depressive symptoms (Peterson, Schwartz & Seligman, 1981). In addition, a survey of rape c r i s i s center counselors indicated that the kind of self-blame reported by rape victims focused to a greater extent on behavioral acts than on s p e c i f i c t r a i t s or aspects of the i r personalities (Janoff-Bulman, 1979). There may be reason to believe, therefore, that some kinds of self-blame represent a functional response to a traumatic event, not a maladaptive attitude to be discouraged by others. How others interpret self-blame on the part of a victim undoubtedly a f f e c t s their interactions with a victimized individual and has consequences for the victim's o v e r a l l adjustment. There i s some indication in the l i t e r a t u r e that professionals and laymen a l i k e generally view self-blame as a 26 sign of maladjustment and emotional disturbance (e.g., Abrams & Finesinger, 1953; Coates et a l . , 1979). Research by Coates et a l . (1979) investigating observers' reactions to a rape victim who expressed self-blame indicated that self-blaming victims were seen -as more emotionally disturbed and maladjusted than those who attributed t h e i r v i c t i m i z a t i o n to other factors. If in fact victims' self-blaming strategies are an attempt on their part to cope more e f f e c t i v e l y with the si t u a t i o n , to regain a sense of control over their l i v e s , their e f f o r t s may be thwarted i f others react unfavorably to their explanations and respond to them as though they were maladjusted or disturbed. In some cases victim self-blame may function to confirm an observer's general tendency to hold the individual responsible for his or her fate. P a r t i c u l a r l y in the case of rape or wife assault, in contrast to cancer for example, admission of blame on the part of the woman i s often held up as at least in d i r e c t evidence that the abuse had in some way been sought out or provoked. It i s an objective of the proposed research to explore the tendency toward self-blame in battered women, and to investigate whether t h i s i s an adaptive or maladaptive strategy for them. Victims of Domestic Violence Domestic violence t r a d i t i o n a l l y has been understood to be a r e l a t i v e l y i s o l a t e d phenomenon, and has been explained largely through reference to the psychological problems of the individuals involved (e.g., Davidson, 1977; Prescott & Letco, 1977). However, within the la s t decade there has been a growing 27 public awareness of the extent and pervasiveness of violence between intimates and a recognition that the phenomenon i s a s o c i a l problem of vast proportions, a f f e c t i n g m i l l i o n s of people. It has been estimated that as many as 50% of a l l women w i l l be victims of spousal abuse at some point in their l i v e s (Langley & Levy, 1977; Straus et a l . , 1980; Walker, 1979). In a study of 57 representative families selected at random in Delaware i t was revealed that 60% were involved in some kind of husband-wife physical violence (Steinmetz, in Langley & Levy, 1977). However, in a random sample of over 2,000 couples throughout the U.S., Straus et a l . (1980) found that only 28% of the couples interviewed had engaged in some kind of violence directed at one another. But, l i k e many other researchers, Straus et a l . suggest that t h i s figure may be a substantial underestimate, as there i s l i k e l y to be a tendency on the part of both partners to underreport the violence. In fact, the FBI has stated that marital violence i s the most unreported crime, as much as ten times more unreported than rape (Martin, 1978). The extent of the phenomenon i s p a r t i c u l a r l y s a l i e n t when i t becomes d i f f i c u l t to find non-violent control groups for research on domestic violence. While studying a group of l i k e l y candidates for violence, Gelles (in Langley & Levy, 1977) found that one t h i r d of his control group reported spousal violence. Similar findings were reported by Frieze (1979). To f u l l y comprehend the meaning and significance of these s t a t i s t i c s , i t c l e a r l y i s important to know how researchers 28 define wife abuse. Unfortunately, many reported studies are vague with regard to this question. Straus et a l . (1980) suggest that estimated frequencies of 50-60% are probably based on d e f i n i t i o n s of abuse that include pushes and shoves as well as more extreme cases of assault, but these authors also state that far from a l l incidents of violence are r e s t r i c t e d to pushes and slaps. In t h e i r survey with a nationally representative sample of over 2000 couples, Straus et a l , used the Straus C o n f l i c t T actics Scale to gather data on a continuum of violent acts directed at one's spouse, ranging from throwing things at one's spouse to the use of a gun or knife. On t h i s scale, those acts which carry with them a high risk of serious physical injury to the victim were included in what Straus et a l . have c a l l e d the "wife-beating index." (These acts include kicking," b i t i n g , or h i t t i n g with f i s t ; h i t or t r i e d to h i t with something; beat up; threatened with knife or gun; used knife or gun.) For the twelve month period preceding the interview, 3.8% of the respondents in the Straus et a l . sample reported one or more physical attacks which f a l l in t h i s category of "wife-beating." Over the course of their marriages, almost 4% had faced an angry partner with a knife or gun in hand, and almost 13% admitted there had been an act of violence which could cause serious injury. The figure of 28% reported above included violent acts which ranged from throwing things through more extreme assaultive behaviors. Another important consideration i s the frequency with which beatings occur. Straus et a l . reported great v a r i a t i o n in their sample, from one serious assault per year to once or more often 29 per week. Among those couples in which a serious assault (categorized as wife-beating) had occurred, 19% reported 2 assaults per year; 16% reported 3 or 4 beatings; and 33% reported f i v e or more during a year. Severity can also be judged from s t a t i s t i c s on the need for medical care as a result of spousal assault. In a report prepared for the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, MacLeod (1980) presented s t a t i s t i c s gathered from 73 shelters and hostels for battered women across Canada. Of those women asked about the extent of their i n j u r i e s , between 30% and 36% responded that they had required medical care. Of those women asked about the regularity of the abuse, 26% were beaten at least once per month. One shelter reported that 84% of i t s residents had been beaten at least eleven times (MacLeod, 1980). In a report on wife assault by the Vancouver Transition House and the Women's Research Centre in Vancouver, i t was reported that 61.9% of the battered women interviewed had received professional medical treatment for their i n j u r i e s . Over 62% of these women reported being beaten often and/or regularly (Barnsley, 1980). The i n a b i l i t y to document accurately the incidence of domestic violence stems from a number of factors. H i s t o r i c a l l y the family has been considered the most private and intimate of so c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , making d e t a i l e d study of family behavior often d i f f i c u l t . As noted above, researchers also have doubts about the extent to which violence in the home i s accurately reported. There are two l i k e l y reasons for underreporting abuse 30 (Straus, 1978). For many families a certain amount of violence i s "normal" and not noteworthy enough to be reported. It i s for t h i s reason that many abused women do not think of themselves as "battered women." For others the violence may be so severe that g u i l t and shame prevent both the abuser and the abused from admitting to i t . It i s generally agreed among researchers that domestic violence crosses socioeconomic l i n e s . However, i t has been assumed that violence may be more common in lower income homes than in those of the middle and upper classes. Recent research by Straus et a l . (1980) would seem to support t h i s view. Among thei r findings i s the fact that the rate of violence between husbands and wives was twice as high in the families of blue c o l l a r workers than in white c o l l a r families. And when the two extremes of income were examined i t was found that families l i v i n g at or below the poverty l i n e had a rate of violence between spouses which was 500% greater than the rate of spousal violence in the most well-to-do f a m i l i e s . One problem with these s t a t i s t i c s i s that t h i s sample included only those couples who were l i v i n g together. It i s frequently pointed out that women in the middle and upper classes have more means at their disposal to a s s i s t them in leaving an abusive r e l a t i o n s h i p . Thus, as Straus et a l . suggested, although their research was extensive as well as being representative of the population as a whole, their findings do not include separated or divorced couples who may.at one time have been victims of violence in the home. Research on domestic violence generally reports violence 31 between spouses, and the fact that both husbands and wives are physi c a l l y abusive has led some to suggest that husbands are victimized as much as are wives and consequently should warrant a comparable amount of concern. In response to t h i s , data have been reported to support the view that wife abuse i s a more serious problem than i s husband-abuse. Research by Dobash and Dobash (1979) revealed that 76% of the family violence in their sample was husband assaults on the i r wives, while 1% involved wife assaults on their husbands. Additionally, studies of patterns of violence have shown that (1) men engage in more extreme forms of violence than do women, (2) violent acts committed by a husband are l i k e l y to be repeated more often than is the case for their wives, and (3) violence by women i s more often in self-defense than i t i s an i n i t i a t i n g act of abuse (e.g., Macleod, 1980; Straus et a l . , 1980). Apart from the major issue of incidence, there appear to be two questions that have been of most interest to researchers of domestic violence. The f i r s t addresses the causes of wife-battering, and the second asks "Why do the women stay?" Both questions are fundamental to an understanding of battered women's own perceptions of their v i c t i m i z a t i o n . Causes of Domestic Violence Theories advanced to explain wife-abuse generally f a l l into two categories, those centered around the individuals involved and those that take into account the wider s o c i a l context. Psychological studies of the individual p e r s o n a l i t i e s of battered women and their abusers have indicated that they appear 32 to have some c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s in common, although they cannot be readily distinguished by demographic descriptions or stereotypes. In general, both groups have been described as having low self-esteem and as being t r a d i t i o n a l i s t s with regard to home and prescribed sex roles (Walker, 1979). One of the more • popular conceptions of the abusing relationship which stems from t r a d i t i o n a l c l i n i c a l theories about women has portrayed the battered woman as a masochist (Waites, 1978; Fleming, 1979). If these women were not masochistic they would obviously not tolerate the abuse and would leave. The b e l i e f that women enjoy suffering and pick mates responsive to their own needs has in the past enjoyed wide appeal, but recent evidence makes i t clear that the abuse i s not enjoyed and that there are complex psychosocial reasons to explain the i n a b i l i t y of many women to extricate themselves from a battering r e l a t i o n s h i p (e.g., Dutton & Painter, in press; Fleming, 1979; Gelles, 1977). A number of reasons have been offered to explain why" men beat their wives including alcohol, mental i l l n e s s , jealousy, f r u s t r a t i o n and stress. However, t h i s approach f a i l s to account for the fact that many people in the same conditions do not beat their partners. Such explanations do not address the questions of why there i s so much violence in the family (and not in other s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s ) , and why the violence i s so often directed at the wife. In an e f f o r t to address domestic violence as a s o c i a l problem rather than one contained in individual relationships, Straus (1978), a s o c i o l o g i s t , has argued that the causes of 33 spousal abuse are to be found in the structure of society and i t s family system. (For additional t h e o r e t i c a l explanations of violence between intimates see e.g., Dutton, in press.) Straus f i r s t makes the point that the family as a s o c i a l group i s characterized by a high l e v e l of c o n f l i c t . Family membership confers the right to influence the behavior of others in the family, and people generally have a large emotional investment in that behavior. Straus points to the violent nature of society as one reason why family members turn to violence to deal with c o n f l i c t . He suggests as a second reason that, for children, love tends to be associated with violence to the extent that physical punishment i s used as a ch i l d r e a r i n g technique. An additional factor i s that violent parents may serve as role models for their c h i l d r e n . The "cycle of violence" theory contends that children who have witnessed violence between their parents, or have been abused themselves, are l i k e l y to be involved in abusive relationships as adults. This may be more the case for men than i t i s for women, however. The San Francisco Family Violence project i s one among several reporting that over 60% of battering men come from violent households, while i t i s found generally that less than one-third of battered women report having seen violence between their parents (Fleming, 1979). Mention should be made of the fact that the research from which these s t a t i s t i c s are drawn suffers from at least two l i m i t a t i o n s . F i r s t , researchers often f a i l to report what d e f i n i t i o n s have been assigned to such terms as "violent homes" 34 or "parental violence." It i s therefore impossible to assess the range of violent behaviors referred to. Second, because these percentages are based on reported violence, rather than documented violence, i t i s unclear to what extent both men's and women's reports are biased by, for example, d i s t o r t i o n or repression. In his analysis of the causes of wife-beating, Straus (1978) also contends that there exist c u l t u r a l norms that leg i t i m i z e the use of violence between family members. These norms, or informal s o c i a l rules, derive from the fact that this form of violence was once l e g a l l y condoned in western s o c i e t i e s . Understood in i t s h i s t o r i c a l context, wife-beating i s not a "deviant" act but rather an acceptable form of behavior which has existed for centuries within a p a t r i a r c h i c a l family system (e.g., Dobash & Dobash, 1970; Macleod, 1980). Men t r a d i t i o n a l l y owned their wives and children and were considered to have complete authority over them. The woman's place was in the home, and the family and home were understood to be immune to rules which applied to the wider society (e.g., Macleod, 1980). It i s only within the la s t century that men were denied the legal right to beat their wives in B r i t a i n and the United States. At that time, in the late 19th century, at least one state's law declared that the "moral sense of the community rev o l t s " at the idea of a husband "chastising" his wife (Dobash & Dobash, 1978, p. 431). Although men no longer have the legal right to . beat their wives, however, the law has continued to make i t d i f f i c u l t for women to enforce their r i g h t s . Many women have been 3 5 confronted with police department " s t i t c h rules" which prescribe that a woman must have become injured to a certain degree (e.g., a certain number of stitches) to be able to f i l e assault charges against her husband (Gelles, 1977). The law grants much less protection to an abused wife than i f the same violence had been i n f l i c t e d on her by someone other than her husband (e.g., Davidson, 1977). Further, the philosophy that the family must be held together at a l l cost i s often r e f l e c t e d in s o c i a l and legal reactions to wives who flee their abusive spouses (e.g., Macleod, 1980). Why Do They Stay? Battered women remain with or return to their partners for complex reasons that cannot be wholly separated from the causes of t h e i r abuse. A general assumption held by many laymen is that any reasonable person, having been beaten, would avoid being h i t again. It follows in the minds of many observers that abused wives who f a i l to leave must be masochists or mentally i l l . It is often not recognized that those women who may want to leave or attempt to leave are often a c t i v e l y discouraged from seeking help, as noted above, due to b e l i e f s in the sanctity of the family and a c u l t u r a l acceptance of some amount of violence between intimates, or "consenting adults" (Gelles, 1977). Many women have no place to go. Their resources are limited in that they are often economically dependent on the i r husbands, their job opportunities are limited and they are generally also responsible for their children. Many abused women hold out hope that the batterer w i l l change, or believe that keeping the 3 6 m a r r i a g e t o g e t h e r i s b e s t f o r t h e c h i l d r e n . F e e l i n g s o f g u i l t t h a t t h e y were r e s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e i r p a r t n e r ' s a b u s e a l s o s e r v e t o k e e p some women i n t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p . I t i s a l s o i m p o r t a n t t o r e c o g n i z e t h a t women who h a v e been b a t t e r e d by t h e i r h u s b a n d s o f t e n f e e l s t r o n g e m o t i o n a l t i e s t o t h e i r p a r t n e r s , a f a c t t h a t i s d i f f i c u l t "for most p e o p l e t o b e l i e v e b e c a u s e t h e y c a n n o t u n d e r s t a n d how s t r o n g a f f e c t i o n a l b o nds c o u l d d e v e l o p u n d e r c o n d i t i o n s o f a b u s e . I n a t h e o r y o f " t r a u m a t i c b o n d i n g " , D u t t o n a n d P a i n t e r ( i n p r e s s ) h a v e d e s c r i b e d some o f t h e s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n s o f a b u s i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w h i c h may s e r v e t o m i t i g a t e a g a i n s t t h e a b i l i t y o f b a t t e r e d women t o b r e a k away f r o m t h e i r p a r t n e r s . Two common f e a t u r e s o f a b u s i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s ( i n c l u d i n g c h i l d - p a r e n t , h o s t a g e - c a p t o r ) a r e 1) a power i m b a l a n c e , where t h e m a l t r e a t e d p e r s o n p e r c e i v e s h i m o r h e r s e l f t o be d o m i n a t e d , a n d 2) t h e i n t e r m i t t e n t n a t u r e o f t h e a b u s e . As D u t t o n a n d P a i n t e r p o i n t o u t , r e s e a r c h i n s o c i a l p s y c h o l o g y h a s shown t h a t u n e q u a l power r e l a t i o n s h i p s c a n become i n c r e a s i n g l y u n b a l a n c e d o v e r t i m e , t o t h e p o i n t where i n d i v i d u a l s may e x h i b i t a v a r i e t y o f p a t h o l o g i c a l b e h a v i o r s . D u t t o n a n d P a i n t e r d e s c r i b e a c y c l e o f d e p e n d e n c y a n d l o w e r e d s e l f - e s t e e m on t h e p a r t o f t h e l e s s p o w e r f u l i n d i v i d u a l t h a t may o c c u r i n a p o w e r - i m b a l a n c e d r e l a t i o n s h i p . The l o w power p e r s o n may i n t e r n a l i z e t h e o t h e r ' s a s sumed p e r s p e c t i v e a n d becomes l e s s c a p a b l e o f f e n d i n g f o r h i m o r h e r s e l f o v e r t i m e . The i n d i v i d u a l i s t h u s more i n nee d o f t h e p e r s o n i n power a n d comes e v e n t u a l l y t o f e e l s t r o n g a f f e c t i v e b o n d s t o t h i s p e r s o n . T h i s c y c l e a l s o 37 creates dependency needs in the high power person, and i f the power imbalance i s disturbed, the individual may resort to desperate control attempts to restore the role r e l a t i o n s h i p . One example of th i s i s evidenced among abandoned battering husbands who resort to t a c t i c s such as intimidation and surveillance to bring their wives back to them. The abuse that occurs in battering relationships i s generally intermittent, with intervening periods characterized by more normal and acceptable behavior. As Dutton and Painter describe, such intermittent maltreatment patterns have been found to produce strong emotional, bonding e f f e c t s in both animals and humans. The authors present evidence from psychological research to suggest that for battered women, the removal of the aversive arousal associated with their abuse and the tendency of many batterers to be exceptionally loving and contr i t e following abusive incidents, in combination can strengthen the emotional attachment of women for their abusers. If a woman does in fact decide to leave her partner, Dutton and Painter suggest that this decision may be suddenly reversed i f the woman, in "an emotional deprivation state of increasing in t e n s i t y " (p.22) is faced with the harsh r e a l i t i e s of obtaining safety, shelter and economic sustenance. Walker (1979) has applied the learned helplessness construct to the battering phenomenon in an e f f o r t to understand further why many women remain in their situation and what happens to them psychologically. She proposes on the basis of extensive c l i n i c a l interviews that women learn to be helpless in 38 a battering relationship, and that t h i s helplessness makes i t d i f f i c u l t for them to get out. In t h i s analysis, t r a d i t i o n a l sex role s o c i a l i z a t i o n i s understood to encourage women's feelings of helplessness. According to Walker, they are systematically taught that their personal worth depends not on their own eff e c t i v e responses to situations, but on their appeal to men. Their role in l i f e i s to make their marriage successful. They blame themselves for the violence and try to change, but regardless of what they do, they are abused. After a time they r e a l i z e that they have no control over the violence, that the abuse i s independent of any responses or behavior on their part. Further, repeated batterings diminish their motivation to respond. Walker goes on to suggest that the helplessness, p a s s i v i t y , and depression experienced by battered women may generalize to other aspects of their l i v e s . Once they believe they cannot control what happens to them, they have d i f f i c u l t y believing they can ever exert influence in the i r l i v e s . The nonresponsiveness of external agencies and individuals reinforces t h i s b e l i e f . Walker believes that t h i s concept of learned helplessness i s important for understanding why battered women do not attempt to free themselves from battering relationships. However, Rounsaville (1978) reported that the battered women in his sample had not generalized their feelings of helplessness and ineffectiveness to other areas of their l i v e s . Further, in another study Rounsaville and his colleagues 39 (Rounsavilie, L i f t o n & Bieber, 1978) found that the abused women interviewed reported themselves to be competent in their work outside the home, and in their relationships with their family of o r i g i n and their children. Feelings of ineffectiveness were s p e c i f i c to the -spouse relationship and to leisure-time a c t i v i t i e s . Thus while the syndrome of learned helplessness may be a contributing factor to a woman's i n a b i l i t y to free herself of the abusive relationship, i t does not appear to explain in f u l l the s i t u a t i o n in which battered women find themselves. The Research Problem Battered women represent a d i s t i n c t l y d i f f e r e n t kind of victim population than has heretofore been investigated. The most sa l i e n t features of their v i c t i m i z a t i o n that set them apart from other individuals who have met with unfortunate l i f e events is the nature of their r e l a t i o n s h i p to the perpetrator of the violence, and the recurrent nature of their v i c t i m i z a t i o n . A battered woman's explanation and understanding of her situation may be strongly influenced by these factors. While a victim of a rape or of an accident i s explaining an event that happened in the past and i s receding with time, most battered women must explain a recurring phenomenon that may have extended over a long period of time, and further, may reoccur in the future. Moreover, the emotional state of abused women would appear to be a p a r t i c u l a r l y important aspect of their reactions to their v i c t i m i z a t i o n . Unlike most subjects in laboratory 4 0 experiments, questions asked of victims of domestic violence refer to a traumatic, emotion-laden period of their l i v e s . Studies investigating individuals' a t t r i b u t i o n a l patterns have not commonly related these patterns to emotions, and even when emotional reactions are examined they tend to be emotions of low intensity, generally ones generated by a laboratory event or a hypothetical scenario (e.g., Weiner et a l . , 1979). One purpose of the present investigation was to examine how the emotional reactions of battered women relate to the i r coping c a p a b i l i t i e s , as well as to the explanations (attributions) made by these individuals for the i r abuse. In everyday l i f e , and espe c i a l l y in emotion-filled contexts such as those related to domestic violence, i t seems reasonable to expect that a f f e c t i s an important contributing factor in how people react to events. In sum, the research to be reported in t h i s thesis was directed toward a greater understanding of how battered women explain and interpret the abuse that they have experienced and to determine how their interpretations relate to their emotional .reactions and coping c a p a b i l i t i e s . A major objective of thi s undertaking was to determine the extent to which existing s o c i a l psychological research and theory on reactions to negative l i f e events can account for the experiences of women who have been assaulted by their partners. The strategy of the proposed research was to interview women who had sought refuge in a shelter for battered women. Questions asked of them that were the most central to the the o r e t i c a l concerns of thi s thesis involved their a t t r i b u t i o n s 41 of blame for their abuse, their a f f e c t i v e reactions, and the extent to which they were perceived by shelter counselors as coping well with their s i t u a t i o n . Furthermore, attempts were made to contact women (or get information pertaining to them) one month after their i n i t i a l interview to determine whether or not they had returned to their abusive partners. 1 Hypotheses Hypothesis 1; The Relationship between Attributions of Blame and  Affect Based on theory and research establishing a l i n k between causal a t t r i b u t i o n s and a f f e c t i v e reactions, as well as findings that self-blame may be a po s i t i v e psychological mechanism, i t i s predicted here that the degree of self-blame found in battered women w i l l be correlated with their current a f f e c t i v e state (that i s , their current emotional state at the time of measurement). S p e c i f i c a l l y , on the basis of theory and preliminary research by Janoff-Bulman (1979) and Peterson et a l . (1981), i t i s hypothesized that blame directed at one's behavior w i l l be p o s i t i v e l y correlated with p o s i t i v e a f f e c t i v e reactions, and blame directed at one's character w i l l be negatively correlated with positive a f f e c t . Hypothesis 2: The Relationship between Attributions of Blame and  Coping On the basis of findings presented by Bulman and Wortman (1977) and theory and research discussed above, i t i s predicted 42 that self-blame a t t r i b u t i o n s in battered women w i l l be related to e f f e c t i v e coping. More s p e c i f i c a l l y , i t i s hypothesized that behavioral blame and e f f e c t i v e coping w i l l be p o s i t i v e l y correlated, while a negative c o r r e l a t i o n w i l l be found between characterological blame and e f f e c t i v e coping. Hypothesis 3: The Relationship between Affect and Coping It has been proposed that the study of af f e c t w i l l contribute to an understanding of people's reactions to negative l i f e events. In the present research, i t i s predicted that the emotional reactions of battered women w i l l be related to their e f f e c t i v e coping. Specifically,- i t i s hypothesized that positive a f f e c t w i l l be related to successful coping. Perhaps more interesting and important i s the general b e l i e f that a f f e c t i s an important variable that warrants inclusion in so c i a l cognition research. It i s hypothesized that both aff e c t and attr i b u t i o n s w i l l emerge as important predictors of coping in multiple regression analyses. Hypothesis 4: The Relationship between Coping and Avo i d a b i l i t y Bulman and Wortman (1977) found that accident victims coped better the less avoidable they saw their accidents as being. Kahneman et a l . (1982) s i m i l a r l y report that people f e e l less regret over negative outcomes the more inevitable the outcome i s perceived to be. It i s expected here that the concept of av o i d a b i l i t y w i l l also be important to battered women. S p e c i f i c a l l y , i t i s hypothesized that the less avoidable the violence i s perceived to be by women in abusive relationships, the more e f f e c t i v e l y they w i l l cope subsequently. 43 Hypothesis 5 : Predictors of Future Behavior The existing l i t e r a t u r e on domestic violence provides few clues with regard to those variables that may determine which women return to their s i t u t i o n and which do not--no doubt because the factors influencing women's decision to return are as varied and complex as those which prevent them from leaving the abusive rel a t i o n s h i p in the f i r s t place. Nevertheless, i t seems worthwhile to explore possible correlates of thi s behavior. The following factors are hypothesized to be related to t h i s outcome variable: duration of abuse, characterological self-blame, and depression. 44 METHOD  Subjects F i f t y female residents of the Woman's Al l i a n c e shelter for battered women in San Jose, C a l i f o r n i a served as subjects in thi s research. Women who are -admitted to thi s shelter have no other options for emergency housing and are in need of a safe place to stay on a temporary basis (up to a maximum of 30 days). They are described as battered i f they have been mentally or physically abused by their husbands or partners, whether or not they are l i v i n g together. Physical abuse constitutes by far the major complaint of the majority of residents, and ranges from bruises resulting from slaps and pushes to a variety of severe i n j u r i e s including lacerations and broken bones. The f i f t y women interviewed in t h i s research ranged in age from 19 to 48 years. The mean age was 28.4 years and the median age 27. There were a number of ethnic backgrounds represented in the sample: 28 of the respondents were white, 10 were black, 9 were hispanic, and three had other ethnic origins (East Indian, American Indian and F i l i p i n o ) . The women had been l i v i n g with or married to their partners for a mean of 5.4 years, while the length of relat i o n s h i p over the entire sample ranged from three months to 28 years. Thirty-two were married, 18 were unmarried. Forty-six of the 50 women had at least one c h i l d , and 17 of these women had more than two children. The education of the women interviewed ranged from Grade 10 to graduate t r a i n i n g . While seven had not completed high school, 17 had attended university and two had graduate t r a i n i n g . Forty 4 5 of the f i f t y women were not working outside the home at the time they came to the shelter; nine women had had to leave jobs when they came to the shelter. Procedure Residents of the shelter were i n i t i a l l y approached by shelter counselors shortly after t h e i r a r r i v a l and were to l d of the nature of t h i s research project. They were asked i f they would be interested in p a r t i c i p a t i n g and those who answered in the affirmative (over 9 5 % of those who were approached) were subsequently contacted by the experimenter to arrange a convenient interview time. Subjects were interviewed- as soon as possible following their a r r i v a l in the shelter in order to avoid the p o s s i b i l i t y of p otential biases in their responses that might have resulted from interaction with the shelter s t a f f and other residents. It was explained to them that the interviewer was a member of the volunteer shelter s t a f f , and was engaged in a research project on the subject of domestic violence. Subjects were told more s p e c i f i c a l l y that the interviewer was interested in speaking to them about their understanding of, and explanations for, their abuse. Subjects signed consent forms that indicated to them that their responses would be c o n f i d e n t i a l and that th e i r anonymity would in a l l cases be assured. The majority of women were eager to talk about their experiences, and many seemed to fi n d i t easier to talk to the interviewer than to staff counselors, for 46 two reasons. The f i r s t i s that counselors were often pressed for time and found i t d i f f i c u l t to conduct lengthy discussions without interruption. Second, because their interviews were co n f i d e n t i a l , some women commented that they f e l t more comfortable talking to the interviewer than to the s t a f f . The content of their discussions would have no bearing on any decisions made by the shelter concerning them, such as length of stay, or regarding information to be communicated to s o c i a l workers. Most interviews were held in the evening, in a r e l a t i v e l y quiet dining area in the shelter. A standardized description of the research project was presented to a l l p a r t i c i p a n t s . Subjects were asked questions from the interview schedule (Appendix A) and their responses were recorded by the investigator. One measure, the Mood Inventory (Appendix B) , required subjects to mark their own responses on the questionnaire. (While a request had been made to the s t a f f of the Woman's All i a n c e to permit the use of a tape recorder in these sessions, i t was suggested that i t would be in the women's best interest to protect as. much as possible t h e i r privacy and anonymity, and the request was therefore denied.) The average time spent interviewing each subject was approximately three hours, although sessions ranged from 2 to 6 hours in length. 47 Measures Interview Schedule The interview (see Appendix A) was a combination of open-ended and structured questions requiring responses on a scale of one to f i v e . It was developed on the basis of a number of sources, most notably research with battered women and a t t r i b u t i o n a l analyses of victim populations (e.g., Bulman & Wortman, 1977). Questions were included that e l i c i t e d information about the following general areas or issues: demographic variables; c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of and background information about the abuse; perceptions of the abuse (e.g., normality, a v o i d a b i l i t y ) ; support and communication; and perceived causes of the abuse. Five a t t r i b u t i o n questions were posed to subjects, each response on a scale from one to f i v e : extent of partner blame, self-blame, other blame (e.g., partner's upbringing), and behavioral versus characterological self-blame. Measures of Affect Three questionnaires (see Appendix B) were administered to subjects in order to obtain general indices of affect or emotional reactions. These included the short form of the Beck Depression Inventory (Beck & Beck, 1972); a Mood Inventory (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974) from which two separate dimensions of a f f e c t were u t i l i z e d , the Pleasure scale and the Dominance scale; and f i n a l l y , a c h e c k l i s t of emotional reactions adapted from research by Wortman (Note 2) which w i l l be referred to here as the Affect Frequency Checklist and which yielded two scores, 48 one indicating p o s i t i v e a f f e c t and one negative a f f e c t . In addition to these f i v e measures of a f f e c t , two questions from research by Bulman and Wortman (1977) were included in the interview schedule: the extent to which subjects saw their s i t u a t i o n as the worst thing that could ever happen to them, and a general question to assess how happy subjects f e l t at t h i s stage of their l i v e s . Both questions were responded to on f i v e -point scales. Thus, seven separate measures of a f f e c t were included in analyses of subjects' a f f e c t i v e response. Beck Depression Inventory. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck, 1967) has been used in a number of studies designed to assess the relationship between at t r i b u t i o n s and depression (e.g., Rizley, 1978; Seligman, 1979). The short form of the BDI rather than the longer form was included in the present research for p r a c t i c a l , time-related considerations. The short form correlates .96 with the longer BDI, and the r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y of both forms have been well documented (Beck & Beck, 1972; Seligman et a l . , 1979). The short BDI consists of 13 items, each item including four a l t e r n a t i v e statements ranging in severity from 0 to 3. Subjects . are asked to indicate the one or more statements from each item which best describe the way they f e e l . Responses (the highest score for each item) are summed to provide one score for depression. The items are intended to cover a range of depressive symptoms including sadness, sense of f a i l u r e , g u i l t , s o c i a l withdrawal, and self-image change, among others (see Appendix B). 49 In the current sample, the mean rating for the group on the BDI was 8.4 which according to Beck and Beck (1972) r e f l e c t s moderate depression. The range of BDI scores and associated degree of depression as reported by Beck and Beck were u t i l i z e d to ascertain the severity of depression among the battered women interviewed. Seventeen women were not at a l l or only minimally depressed, seven could be categorized as mildly depressed, 18 were moderately depressed, and eight women scored high enough on the BDI to f a l l within the severely depressed category. Mood Inventory. Because the purpose of the BDI i s to assess depression, an e f f o r t was made to include a more general measure of a f f e c t . Although the Zuckerman and Lubin (1965) Multiple Affect Adjective Checklist (MAACL) has been used extensively among college populations (e.g., Seligman et a l . , 1979) i t s focus i s on depression, h o s t i l i t y , and anxiety, scales which correlate highly with one another. In addition to t h i s l i m i t a t i o n , Russell and Mehrabian (1977) have c r i t i c i z e d the MAACL and similar scales on a number of points, and suggest that their Mood Inventory (Mehrabian & Russell, 1974, Appendix B) i s preferable. Because th i s inventory also accounts for most of the variance in the MAACL and a number of other measures of a f f e c t , i t s inclusion in the present research was thought appropriate. Moreover, the format for the Mehrabian and Russell inventory appeared to be more suitable for the subject population in t h i s research because i t takes less time to complete and i s easier to comprehend. P i l o t testing confirmed t h i s reasoning. The inventory consists of 30 pairs of words, each,of which 50 describes a "feeling dimension". Subjects indicate by checkmark how they f e e l most of the time with regard to each p a i r . According to Mehrabian and Russell, the inventory assesses three separate a f f e c t i v e dimensions: pleasure, dominance, and arousal. Six word pairs are associated with each dimension, and scores are obtained by summing subjects' responses within each dimension. Thus three separate scores result from the inventory. In the current analysis of a f f e c t , only the pleasure and dominance scores were u t i l i z e d , as they were thought to be p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant to an understanding of the emotional reactions of the current sample. Affect Frequency Checklist. The Affect Frequency Checklist (adapted from Wortman, Note . 2 ) was included in t h i s research because i t was currently in use in Wortman's research with victims of negative l i f e events and appeared to offer a straightforward means to measure some relevant a f f e c t i v e reactions of battered women. Two additional adjectives (gu i l t y and optimistic) thought to be relevant to t h i s sample were included with Wortman's l i s t of eleven descriptions of emotional state. Subjects were asked to indicate how often (on a scale of one to five) they had experienced each fe e l i n g over the course of the previous week's time. A panel of three judges was asked to indicate which adjectives were descriptions of negative emotional states and which were descriptions of positive emotional states. With no disagreement, three adjectives were described as po s i t i v e , and ten negative. Subjects' responses were summed within each 51 category to provide one score for p o s i t i v e and one for negative a f f e c t i v e state. Measure of Coping A measure of how well each woman was coping with her present s i t u a t i o n was obtained by having counselors at the shelter rate each woman on a nine-point scale (see Appendix C). The coping scale i t s e l f had been designed with the help of three shelter counselors, and was intended to assess the extent to which each woman was getting back on her feet, making decisions with p o s i t i v e implications for herself, and taking r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for her own l i f e . While geared s p e c i f i c a l l y to the problems and challenges facing battered women, thi s measure of coping can best be described as problem-focused as opposed to emotion-focused coping, a d i s t i n c t i o n made recently by Lazarus and his coworkers (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980). The function served by problem-focused coping, as described by Folkman and Lazarus, i s the "management or a l t e r a t i o n of the person-environment relat i o n s h i p that i s the source of stress" (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980, p. 223). The c r i t e r i a used here to assess whether a subject was coping e f f e c t i v e l y with her situ a t i o n emphasized s p e c i f i c attempts on her part to ameliorate her l o t . For example, poor copers were described as unwilling to face the r e a l i t y of the sit u a t i o n , reluctant to do things for themselves and expecting the situ a t i o n to change miraculously, while good copers were seen to a c t i v e l y pursue s p e c i f i c courses of action (search for job, apartment, counseling with partner) and to have made plans with which they f e l t clear and comfortable. 52 At least two counselors scored each subject for coping. While i t had been assumed i n i t i a l l y that these coping scores would be analyzed for their interrater r e l i a b i l i t y , subjects unfortunately spent d i f f e r e n t i a l amounts of time with each counselor. Each counselor thus f e l t that she might not have enough information to assess adequately each subject. Therefore, two counselors together discussed each woman in depth and arrived at a coping assessment with which both agreed. On a scale of nine, the mean coping score for the current sample was 4.6. Twenty-six of the 50 women received coping scores on the lower end of the continuum (4 or less) while coping ratings over five were given to 19 women. 53 PROCEDURAL MODIFICATIONS Behavioral versus Characterological Blame In-depth interviews often afford the opportunity for interviewers to receive immediate feedback from respondents with regard to the questions asked of them. That i s , subjects may request c l a r i f i c a t i o n or question the meaning of s p e c i f i c items. While th i s can lead to a more thorough understanding of the meaning of subjects' responses, interviewers must remain open to the p o s s i b i l i t y that changes in format may be necessary to accommodate subjects' feedback. P i l o t testing often serves to shape the interview format appropriately. However, i t may be the case that respondents' comments raise issues of t h e o r e t i c a l importance, rather than simply the need to rephrase a p a r t i c u l a r question. The current research provides such an example. After a number of lengthy p i l o t interviews with shelter occupants, i t became clear that a problem existed with the a t t r i b u t i o n questions designed to assess behavioral and characterological blame. The d i s t i n c t i o n made, in the l i t e r a t u r e between .these two kinds of self-blame appeared d i f f i c u l t to apply to the battered women in t h i s sample. It w i l l be r e c a l l e d that behavioral blame refers to a t t r i b u t i o n s to s p e c i f i c acts or omissions, while characterological blame involves a t t r i b u t i o n s to one's character or the sort of person one i s . When responding to either the behavioral or characterological blame questions in the current research (e.g., "How much do you blame yourself for the violence because of things you did or didn't do, i . e . , do you think i f you had acted d i f f e r e n t l y the violence wouldn't 54 have occurred or been so bad?") women generally answered in such a way as to incorporate both their behavior and character or personality: "He would h i t me because I am outspoken, that i s , I talked back to him." While th i s issue w i l l be addressed in more d e t a i l in the Discussion section, i t should s u f f i c e to say here that the ongoing nature of domestic abuse no doubt largely accounts for the lack of d i s t i n c t i o n between these two types of blame. Recurrent acts, viewed retrospectively, must r e f l e c t something about one's character or personality. It was, therefore, decided that rather than pose two questions that appeared redundant, the i n i t i a l behavioral and characterological blame questions should be merged. Thus, in addition to the general self-blame question (asked in conjunction with partner blame), t h i s second question assessed blame for spec i f ic instances of violence, blame that could be attributed to either a s p e c i f i c act or to some aspect of the woman's personality. As references to s p e c i f i c instances of violence often e l i c i t e d responses d i f f e r e n t from the general self-blame a t t r i b u t i o n , t h i s question was retained rather than dropped altogether from the interview format. Perception of Contingency Further, an important d i s t i n c t i o n emerged in p i l o t interviews between a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame and the perception of contingency or covariation between one's actions or personality and the abuse. When addressing the issue of blame, women were often quick to point out the existence of a relationship between 55 what they did and the onset of abuse, but they did not blame themselves for the abuse. For instance, a woman might respond that her partner was violent because she was independent or outspoken, but she did not believe she was to be faulted for thi s and thus attributed no blame to hers e l f . The d i s t i n c t i o n seemed an important one, p a r t i c u l a r l y as some respondents did not acknowledge t h i s contingency. A new question was thus incorporated into the interview schedule designed to assess the perceived relationship between a woman's behavior or personality and her partner's abuse: "To what extent do you think your husband was violent because of something about you, some par t i c u l a r t r a i t that you have (e.g., too submissive, outspoken), or pa r t i c u l a r ways in which you acted?" The item as rephrased i s in fact quite similar to a t t r i b u t i o n questions that have been used in other research contexts (see, e.g., Abramson et a l . , 1978; Gong-Guy & Hammen, 1980). Posed d i f f e r e n t l y the item could read, "To what extent do you att r i b u t e the abuse to something about yourself," that i s , a person or internal a t t r i b u t i o n . However, in the present context, the "contingency" wording seemed readily interpretable by respondents and was c l e a r l y distinguishable from an assessment of blame. (The issue of contingency versus blame w i l l also be addressed in more d e t a i l in a lat e r section.) The five a t t r i b u t i o n questions posed to subjects thus included four questions to assess blame (blame to partner, s e l f , other factors, and self-blame for s p e c i f i c instances of violence) and one question (contingency) to assess the perceived r e l a t i o n s h i p between aspects of self and the abuse. 57 RESULTS Affect and Blame Attri b u t i o n s : Composite Scores Affect The seven measures of a f f e c t were highly intercorrelated (see Table I ) . It w i l l be recalled that these measures included the short form of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Pleasure and Dominance dimensions of the Mood Inventory, ratings of happiness and of subjects' s i t u a t i o n on a best to worst continuum, and negative and p o s i t i v e a f f e c t scores from the Affect Frequency Checklist. Because both the BDI and the Mood Inventory have been tested extensively for r e l i a b i l i t y and v a l i d i t y , i t was encouraging that the less r e l i a b l e measures included in t h i s research were for the most part highly related to them. In order to create one composite aff e c t score for each subject, a p r i n c i p a l component analysis was performed. The f i r s t p r i n c i p a l component, or factor, in such an analysis y i e l d s the best linear combination of variables; i . e . , t h i s combination accounts for more of the variance in the data than any other linear combination (e.g., Kerlinger & Pedhazur, 1973). The factor or component derived from t h i s analysis could be readily described as a bipolar factor where a high score on the factor was indicative of general negative a f f e c t (see Factor Loading Matrix, Table I I ) . That i s , high scorers tended to be depressed on the BDI, had low pleasure and dominance scores, and described themselves as frequently anxious, angry and a f r a i d . On the other hand, low scores on t h i s factor were associated with reported TABLE I Intercorrelations among Measures of Affect Beck Depression Inventory Pleasure Dominance Happiness Best-Worst Negative Affect Positive Affect Beck Pleasure Depression (Mood Inventory Inventory) 1.00 ,62a 1.00 Dominance (Mood Inventory) .57a .47a 1.00 Happiness Best-Worst -.54c -.71£ -.43l 1.00 -.20 -.29° -.13 .30c 1.00 Negative Affect (Affect Frequency) .59a .72a .52a -,60a -.35c 1.00 Positive Affect (Affect Frequency) -.54 a -.66 a -.28c .43b .36b -.65 a 1.00 a p * .001 b p< .01 C .05 59 TABLE II Factor Loading Matrices (from Principal Component Analyses) Affect Variable Pleasure ** (Mood Inventory) Negative Affect (Affect Frequency) Positive Affect (Affect Frequency) BDI Happiness Dominance ** (Mood Inventory) Best-Worst Blame Attributions Coefficient .87 .86 -.78 .77 -.69 .62 -.46 Variable Partner blame Self blame (general) Self blame (specific) Coefficient -.92 .91 .70 Principal component pattern coefficients: these are correlation coefficients between each constituent variable and the linear combination of variables High scores on these variables indicate low pleasure and low dominance 60 happiness, a tendency to view one's l o t in l i f e as closer to the best than the worst, and a frequency of calm, happy and optimistic f e e l i n g s . (See Table II for the correlations between each variable and the derived factor.) Each subject's factor score for a f f e c t ( i . e . , the l i n e a r combination of the above variables) was used in subsequent analyses. Attributions Table III reports frequencies for the number of subjects who attributed various l e v e l s of blame to themselves and others, and the extent to which the women saw a contingency between thei r behavior or personality and the violence. Intercorrelations among the fiv e measures of a t t r i b u t i o n are shown in Table IV. The fact that perceived contingency did not correlate with a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame provides further evidence that blaming oneself for one's partners' abusive behavior is d i s t i n c t from perceiving a rel a t i o n s h i p between aspects of oneself and the abuse. Thus contingency was analyzed separately from self and partner blame a t t r i b u t i o n s . While blame directed at "other factors" was unrelated to s e l f (general and s p e c i f i c ) and partner blame, the l a t t e r were s i g n i f i c a n t l y correlated. Three blame measures were thus also combined to form composite scores using p r i n c i p a l component analysis: the extent to which one's partner was blamed for the violence, the extent to which one blamed oneself, and the extent to which one blamed oneself for s p e c i f i c instances of violence. The factor loading matrix (see Table II) indicates that people who had high scores on t h i s factor blamed themselves, both in 61 TABLE III Frequencies: Blame and Perceived Contingency Blame: Number of Subjects Attributing Blame to Partner, Self(general), Self (specific), and Other Factors Amount of Blame Partner/n Self (general) Self (specific) Other None 0/50 25/50 18/48 14/50 Some 50/50 25/50 30/48 36/50 At least 50% 50/50 12/50 21/48 35/50 100% 24/50 0/50 0/48 9/50 Contingency: Number of Subjects Who Perceived a Contingency between Aspects of Themselves and Their Partners' Abuse Amount None Some At least 50% Contingency/n 15/49 34/49 28/49 100% 6/49 TABLE IV Intercorrelations among Attribution Measures Partner blame Self blame (specific) a p< .001 b p< .01 Partner blame Self blame Self blame ,, _ , . (general) (specific) Other blame Contingency 1.00 -.83a -.46a .02 -.01 Self blame . n n . „_K (general) ^ - 4 3 -- 0 4 "- 0 4 1.00 .04 .11 Other blame 1.00 .05 Contingency 1.00 63 g e n e r a l a n d f o r s p e c i f i c a b u s i v e i n c i d e n t s , w h i l e p a r t n e r b l a m e r s h a d l o w s c o r e s on t h e f a c t o r . T h i s f a c t o r c o u l d , t h e r e f o r e , be d e s c r i b e d a s a s e l f - b l a m e f a c t o r , a n d s u b j e c t s ' c o m p o s i t e b l a m e s c o r e s were u s e d i n s u b s e q u e n t a n a l y s e s . H y p o t h e s i s 1: I n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s among A t t r i b u t i o n s a n d A f f e c t W h i l e H y p o t h e s i s 1 was c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n b l a m e a t t r i b u t i o n s a n d a f f e c t , t h e c h a n g e s i n t h e m e a s u r e s d e t a i l e d a b o v e n e c e s s i t a t e d a s l i g h t v a r i a t i o n i n t h e a c t u a l a n a l y s e s p e r f o r m e d . Thus i n a d d i t i o n t o b l a m e a t t r i b u t i o n s , p e r c e p t i o n o f c o n t i n g e n c y was a l s o i n c l u d e d among t h e a t t r i b u t i o n m e a s u r e s t o be c o r r e l a t e d w i t h a f f e c t , w h i l e a s d i s c u s s e d a b o v e , a s s e s s m e n t s c o u l d n o t be made o f b e h a v i o r a l v e r s u s c h a r a c t e r o l o g i c a l b l a m e . I t was p r e d i c t e d t h a t s e l f - b l a m e on t h e p a r t o f b a t t e r e d women w o u l d be r e l a t e d t o p o s i t i v e a f f e c t . H o w e v e r , a s one c a n se e f r o m T a b l e V, t h i s p r e d i c t i o n was n o t u p h e l d . The i n t e r c o r r e l a t i o n s among blame a t t r i b u t i o n s , c o n t i n g e n c y , a n d a f f e c t a r e n o n s i g n i f i c a n t . The a b s e n c e o f a r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n a t t r i b u t i o n s a n d a f f e c t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y s u r p r i s i n g i n v i e w o f t h e s u b s t a n t i a l amount o f l i t e r a t u r e t h a t p o i n t s t o t h e e x i s t e n c e o f an a t t r i b u t i o n - a f f e c t l i n k i n o t h e r s u b j e c t p o p u l a t i o n s . A h i n t o f s u c h a l i n k i n t h e c u r r e n t s a m p l e o f women d o e s s u g g e s t i t s e l f i f one l o o k s a t i n d i v i d u a l m e a s u r e s o f blame a n d a f f e c t , r a t h e r t h a n t h e i r c o m p o s i t e s c o r e s . The more women b l a m e d t h e i r p a r t n e r s t h e l e s s t h e y were l i k e l y t o d e s c r i b e t h e m s e l v e s a s TABLE V Correlations among Affect, Blame and Contingency Affect * Blame attributions * Contingency Affect 1.00 -.10 -.17 Blame 1.00 .02 attributions Contingency 1.00 * Composite scores for Affect and Blame variables 65 calm, happy and optimistic on the Affect Frequency Checklist (r=-.34, p<.02); and the more women tended to take general blame for the abuse, the less l i k e l y were they to see their s i t u a t i o n as the worst thing that could b e f a l l them (r=.30, p<.05). In general, however, there were few s i g n i f i c a n t i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s among s p e c i f i c blame attributions and individual measures of af f e c t , which no doubt accounts for the absence of a rela t i o n s h i p between the composite scores. Hypotheses 2 and 3: Predictors of Coping It was predicted in Hypotheses 2 and 3 that, in general, both af f e c t and attributions would emerge as predictors of coping, and more s p e c i f i c a l l y , that both self-blame and posit i v e a f f e c t in battered women would be related to e f f e c t i v e coping. These hypotheses were tested by a stepwise multiple regression analysis and the predictors entered into the regression included a f f e c t , blame a t t r i b u t i o n s , and perceived contingency. Both the affe c t and blame scores were the composite scores derived from p r i n c i p a l component analyses. In a stepwise regression analysis, the independent variables are entered into the equation one by one on the basis of a pre-established s t a t i s t i c a l c r i t e r i o n . In thi s case, the pro b a b i l i t y value associated with a given variable was not to exceed p=.05. The order of inclusion of the variables was determined by the respective contribution of each variable to the amount of variance in coping that could be explained (see e.g., Nie et a l . , 1975). In the analysis (see Table VI), the 66 TABLE VI Regression Analysis: Predictors of Coping Variable r y i Q -Coefficient F-ratio F-probability Contingency .41 .354 7.77 p = .008 Affect -.38 -.315 6.14 p = .017 R = .513 R2= .263 F = 8.406 p = .0008 Correlations among Affect, Blame, Contingency and Coping Affect Blame attributions Contingency Coping Affect 1.00 -.10 1 -.17 -.38a Blame 1.00 .02 .01 attributions Contingency 1.00 . 4 l a Coping 1.00 a p * .005 67 regression equation was s i g n i f i c a n t (R=.513, R2=.263, F=8.406, p<.00l). and the best predictors of coping to emerge were perceived contingency (/3 =.354, F=7.77, p<.0l) and af f e c t (ft=-.314, F=6.14, p<.05). Table VI also presents the inte r c o r r e l a t i o n s among the predictor variables entered into the regression analysis and coping. As predicted, both a f f e c t and att r i b u t i o n s emerged as predictors of e f f e c t i v e coping in battered women. However, the major deviation from the proposed relationship was the fact that a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame ( i . e . , self-blame) were not related to coping, while perceived contingency was highly related to coping c a p a b i l i t i e s . Women who were ranked as good copers by shelter counselors were more l i k e l y to acknowledge a relationship between their own behavior or personality and their partners' violence than were women rated as poor copers. The relationship between af f e c t and coping indicated that women rated as good copers tended, for example, to score high on the pleasure dimension of the mood inventory, and to describe themselves as calm, happy and opt i m i s t i c . Hypothesis 4: Avo i d a b i l i t y and Coping It was predicted that e f f e c t i v e coping in battered women would be related to perceptions of one's vi c t i m i z a t i o n as "unavoidable". However, unlike with the accident victims in: research by Bulman and Wortman (1977), coping and perceptions of av o i d a b i l i t y were not found to correlate among battered women. The concept of a v o i d a b i l i t y may nevertheless s t i l l be an 68 important one to victims of domestic abuse. Subsidiary analyses revealed that both perception of contingency and outcome (whether or not women returned to their abusive partner) were related to a v o i d a b i l i t y . Those women who perceived a contingency between aspects of themselves and their partners' abuse were l i k e l y to perceive the violence as unavoidable (r=-.35, p<.05). The rel a t i o n s h i p between a v o i d a b i l i t y and outcome w i l l be discussed below. Hypothesis 5: Predictors of Future Behavior (Outcome) Information pertaining to subject's whereabouts once they l e f t the shelter was obtained largely through shelter counselors who t r i e d to maintain contact with the women in order to provide support and resource material. Of the 50 women interviewed, information was obtained about the status of 41 one month following their interviews. Of t h i s group, twelve women had returned to their situations and 29 had not. Thus, 29% of the women contacted had returned to the i r abusive partners. It was hypothesized that duration of abuse, characterological self-blame and depression (BDI scores) would be related to the women's outcomes. As discussed, characterological blame was not assessed after p i l o t interviews indicated t h i s a t t r i b u t i o n was not distinguishable from behavioral blame in battered women. No corr e l a t i o n was found between depression and outcome, but duration of abuse and whether or not women returned were s i g n i f i c a n t l y related (r=-.36, p<.05). The longer the duration of violence, the less 69 l i k e l y a woman was to return to her abusive partner. Moreover, in subsidiary analyses of the concept of a v o i d a b i l i t y , i t was revealed that the more unavoidable women perceived their abuse to be, the less l i k e l y they were to return to the battering situation (r=.37, p<.05). It was decided that further analyses should be conducted to explore more f u l l y the relat i o n s h i p of outcome to other variables assessed in thi s research. There are several concerns that j u s t i f y t h i s exploration. The outcome variable measures a s p e c i f i c , r e a l - l i f e behavior on the part of subjects in thi s sample. As a behavioral measure (in contrast to self-report measures) i t seems p a r t i c u l a r l y important to explore any possible relationships that may exist with other variables currently under investigation. The exis t i n g l i t e r a t u r e that pertains to battered women off e r s l i t t l e data on which to base predictions regarding the l i k e l i h o o d of a woman's return. Any further l i g h t that can be shed on thi s phenomenon w i l l no doubt prove useful in understanding more f u l l y the dynamics of domestic violence, in both t h e o r e t i c a l and applied domains. An analysis that seemed relevant under the circumstances was one that assessed whether subjects who did not return d i f f e r e d as a group from subjects who did return to their partners. Hotelling's T 2 test (a generalization of Student's t-test to situations involving more than one dependent variable) was performed on the data in order to determine i f the two groups d i f f e r e d on a range of variables. The variables included in the analysis were the following: duration of violence, 70 a v o i d a b i l i t y , length of relationship, number of times the subject had previously l e f t the relationship, a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame, a f f e c t , and contingency. (Duration and a v o i d a b i l i t y were included in t h i s analysis in order to corroborate the above findings using a s t a t i s t i c a l technique d i s t i n c t l y d i f f e r e n t from c o r r e l a t i o n . Affect was included as a composite score.) The functions performed by a Hotelling's T 2 test are to weight and l i n e a r l y combine the dependent variables in such a way as to make the two groups as s t a t i s t i c a l l y d i s t i n c t as possible. Thus vectors of scores are compared, rather than single scores. These scores are c a l l e d the discriminant scores, and the set of weights which maximally discriminates between groups i s c a l l e d the discriminate function. Thus in conjunction with the T 2 test, a discriminant analysis can be performed. The weighting c o e f f i c i e n t s in the discriminant function serve to id e n t i f y the variables that contribute most to the d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of the groups (see e.g, Harris, 1975). The Hotelling's T 2 test (see Table VII) indicated that the two groups did d i f f e r s i g n i f i c a n t l y on the dependent measures of interest (F=2.44, p<.05). The discriminant function was also s i g n i f i c a n t (y A=14.36, p<.05). However, no s i g n i f i c a n t differences were found when comparisons between the two groups were made i n d i v i d u a l l y for each dependent variable. Thus, the ov e r a l l significance of t h i s analysis indicates that the variables of interest, in interaction, d i f f e r e n t i a t e d the two groups of subjects. Those variables which contributed most to the d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of the groups were (in order of importance): 71 TABLE VII Hotelling's T 2 and Discriminant Analysis Discriminating variable Length of relationship Times previously left Duration of violence Blame ** Contingency Avoidability Affect ** Standard normalized discriminant function coefficient -.12 .45 -.59 -.33 .03 .52 .25 x Group 1 * x Group 2 6.18 2.07 2.03 49.76 3.06 2.55 48.66 3.00 3.50 1.42 47.39 2.50 3.65 52.56 Hotelling's T^ : F = 2.435, p = .039 Discriminant function: Chi-squared = 14.36, p = .045 * Group 1: subjects who did not return to their abusive situations Group 2: subjects who did return to their abusive situations ** Composite scores 72 duration of violence, a v o i d a b i l i t y , times previously l e f t , blame, and a f f e c t . The weighting c o e f f i c i e n t s represent the re l a t i v e contribution of the associated variables to the discriminant function, and as i s clear in Table VII, both length of r e l a t i o n s h i p and contingency were associated with weights of negl i g i b l e importance. Thus in addition to duration of violence and a v o i d a b i l i t y which have been discussed in re l a t i o n to outcome, the fewer times a woman had previously l e f t her partner, the less l i k e l y was she to return; women who blamed thei r partners were more l i k e l y to return; and the worse a woman f e l t emotionally, the greater the l i k e l i h o o d was that she would return. Results; Open-ended Responses The objective of t h i s section of results i s to present a more detailed p r o f i l e of the battered women who participated in th i s research, based on their responses to open-ended questions and their comments about their abusive relationships. Case h i s t o r i e s of two of the women interviewed are presented in Appendix D, in order to provide the reader with a more coherent account of subjects' abusive relationships, as recounted by them. These women were selected on the basis of the amount of information e l i c i t e d from them. They are not necessarily representative of the 50 women interviewed. In t h i s section, a discussion follows of subjects' responses to questions regarding th e i r abuse, their reactions to i t , and elaborations on previously discussed issues such as self-blame and perceived contingency. It should be noted that not a l l women commented 73 free l y on every question posed to them. Many, however, elaborated on their responses to the structured interview items and some of their remarks are quoted in t h i s section to provide a more detailed i l l u s t r a t i o n of at least some women's explanations for their abuse. Background Information Forty-eight women responded to questions about violence in thei r family or their partner's family of o r i g i n . This item was meant to refer not only to spouse abuse, but also to parental abuse of children. Twenty-eight women responded a f f i r m a t i v e l y with regard to their partners' families, while eight said there was none and 12 were not sure. With regard to their own families, 11 women reported that they came from violent homes, 33 did not, and four women responded that there may have been violence between their parents but they were not sure of i t . Thus, according to subjects' reports, 58% of the abusive men, and 23% of abused women came from families characterized by some amount of violence. With regard, to questions posed about the men's l e v e l of education, 18 did not f i n i s h high school, 10 men finished high school but did not continue with further education, and 21 received additional t r a i n i n g or attended college after Grade 12. Of these 21 men, seven received college degrees and four, graduate degrees. Fourteen of the couples had received the same amount of formal education, while in 16 couples the men had more formal t r a i n i n g than the women, and 19 of the women interviewed had received more formal education than their partners. It i s 74 interesting to note that neither l e v e l of education nor age of the women interviewed correlated s i g n i f i c a n t l y with any of the major variables of inte r e s t . Of those 32 couples who were married, in 11 cases the abuse began before marriage, and 16 of the 18 women l i v i n g with but not married to their partners were abused in the f i r s t year of the re l a t i o n s h i p . Perceptions of Abuse When asked to what extent they had perceived the abuse in thei r relationships as normal or expected, f o u r - f i f t h s of the women responded that they did not see i t as normal at a l l , and most women described their partner's violence as unacceptable behavior. The ten women who reported that the abuse seemed s l i g h t l y or f a i r l y normal a l l commented that these views r e f l e c t e d attempts on the batterers' part to convince them that violence was to be expected in relationships: "You have to take the good with the bad," and "This i s the way i t ' s supposed to be--you've been spoiled." Comments by two women indicated that others in their environment had advised them that their men's abuse was normal and "you just have to learn to l i v e with i t . " S i m i l a r l y , with the exception of three subjects, the women interviewed did not perceive the abuse as j u s t i f i e d . Fourteen women commented that anger and verbal spats were to be expected, but that physical violence on the part of either spouse was u n j u s t i f i a b l e . Fourteen women said that they had been led to believe at f i r s t that the violence directed at them might have been j u s t i f i e d , but when eventually they came to the r e a l i z a t i o n 75 they were doing nothing wrong, they ceased to believe t h i s . Subjects were also asked to what extent they blamed themselves after the f i r s t violent incident. One-half responded that they had never found fa u l t with themselves, and the responses of thirteen others indicated that their partners had them convinced for some period of time that they were to blame and deserved to be abused. One woman said she blamed herself for seven years, but now not at a l l , and another commented that her partner convinced her that he beat her "because he cared." Alcohol and Drugs The role of alcohol and drugs in contributing to batterers' abusive tendencies seems somewhat ambiguous based on the current data. While 11 women reported that alcohol and/or drugs (e.g., marijuana, cocaine) were always a contributing factor to their men's violence, 15 women responded that their partners were always sober when v i o l e n t . Characteristics of the Abuse For t h i r t y of the women interviewed, incidents of physical abuse occurred more frequently than once per month. At least ten incidents of violence over the duration of their relationships were reported by more than half of the women, and several found i t impossible to estimate single instances of abuse but believed there may have been well over 100 separate episodes. Using the Straus C o n f l i c t Tactics Scale to categorize levels of violence reported, only two of the 48 women who responded reported acts of violence that did not constitute "acts which carry with them a high r i s k of serious physical injury to the victim" (Straus, 76 1978, p.445). Thus, 46 women reported that they had been at  least kicked or h i t with a f i s t . Often their partners h i t them with whatever came to hand at the moment, for instance a telephone, be l t , crutch, wrench, hammer and meatboard were mentioned. Many had been kicked or choked, and one woman was paralyzed for fi v e hours after her husband choked her. Three women reported they had been pushed down or kicked when pregnant. (One of the most d i s t r e s s i n g cases was a woman who had been severely kicked by her husband when pregnant and subsequently gave b i r t h to a c h i l d with a severely damaged l i v e r . The c h i l d was in the shelter with her mother but did not have long to l i v e . ) Twelve women had been threatened with guns or knives; one when her c h i l d was in her lap, and another woman reported being forced to bed with her husband holding a loaded p i s t o l to her head. Three >women sustained knife wounds. The inj u r i e s reported varied from bruises and lacerations to broken bones. Twenty-seven women received medical care for their i n j u r i e s , and 13 of those who did not go for treatment said that they were either too scared to go, or "were not allowed" to seek medical a i d . When asked i f they had ever been the f i r s t to use violence, 37 women responded that they had never done so, and most of those who answered a f f i r m a t i v e l y said that such an occasion was rare. While the majority of women had attempted to defend themselves by fig h t i n g back at least once, thirteen responded that t h i s only made their . partners more vi o l e n t . General reactions seemed to be attempts to placate the men, or to take 77 the abuse as quietly as possible in the hope that i t would soon be over. Support and Communication Few of these relationships appeared to be ones that permitted open verbal communication between partners. Only nine women stated that they f e l t free to talk openly with their men about the violence. Thirty-four women responded that they could never, or only rarely, voice the subject to their partners. When asked to what degree they could confide in others, 18 women stated that they could discuss t h e i r problems not at a l l , or at the least a very l i t t l e , with other people, including family and close friends. This i s perhaps not surprising in view of the fact that 34 women f e l t their men ac t i v e l y discouraged them from spending time with friends and family, often to a point where women were not permitted to see people or talk on the phone. Five respondents stated that they did not associate with their friends for their own protection. Two women reported being locked into the house during the day, and one woman was taken d a i l y to her husband's place of work so that he could keep an eye on her. Four women mentioned that others, e s p e c i a l l y the partner's family, refused to believe the reported abuse. When describing the reaction of the i r own families, two women were t o l d in so many words that they had made their bed, now sleep in i t . Although t h r e e - f i f t h s of the women interviewed had never sought counseling or therapy, in sixteen of these cases subjects reported that they had entertained the idea, for either 78 themselves, th e i r partners, or both, but either the men rejected the idea or made promises on which they never followed through. Why had They Returned? To outsiders, one of the most perplexing issues with regard to domestic violence i s why abused women remain in their relationships. A similar question was posed to those women in th i s study who had previously l e f t t h e i r men: why did they go back? Of those responses given, the most frequent was that their men had promised to change. Also common were feelings of g u i l t on the part of the women, generally for taking the children away from their father. The fact that some women had no place to go, or f e l t that they were taking advantage of others' h o s p i t a l i t y , often led them back to the i r partners. Several explained that they were worn out, had no support from their families, or were pregnant. Blame and Contingency In addition to perceptions of contingency, four questions were asked of subjects to assess d i f f e r e n t f o c i of blame: partner-blame, self-blame, s e l f - blame for s p e c i f i c instances of violence, and blame to other factors. While v i r t u a l l y no one f e l t the need to elaborate why they blamed their spouses, many women commented on their responses to the other a t t r i b u t i o n items. General self-blame. Probably the most salient c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of responses to thi s question was the variety of explanations i t e l i c i t e d from subjects, which in turn indicated in retrospect the need for more precise questions regarding 79 a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame. Four subjects found fa u l t with themselves for putting up with the abuse. Other explanations varied in the degree to which women actually f e l t responsible for causing the violence. Three women indicated that they did not know how to deal with th e i r partners' problems, and stated that i f they had understood their spouses better, perhaps they would not have been abused. One woman said that " i t took two" and another f e l t that she had done things to provoke her husband, but nevertheless did not condone his use of violence. Other individual responses included violence on the part of the woman, "nagging," and s p e c i f i c circumstances which seemed to imply to the woman s u f f i c i e n t cause for an abusive reaction on the part of the man. For example, one woman said that her partner's violence stemmed from anger regarding "her past," and another explained that her husband was often abusive because her c h i l d was not h i s . Blame for s p e c i f i c instances of violence. The most common explanation given in response to thi s question by ten women was one which indicated that the woman f e l t she was too outspoken, and her partner would react v i o l e n t l y to s p e c i f i c things she said, for example, "If I had learned to shut up ..." or "my expressions got him mad." Three women indicated in so many words that i f they had "abided by his rules" there would have been less violence. Other responses were more s p e c i f i c , such as one woman's comment that "I never cooked his eggs right or cleaned the house the way he wanted." Other Blame. By far the most frequent response when asked 80 what other factors might account for their partners' violence was references by 21 subjects to the men's upbringing. In some instances t h i s explanation referred to the partner's t r a d i t i o n a l view of sex roles, and three women answered that their men were insecure and d i s t r u s t f u l , possibly as a result of the way in which they were brought up. At least six subjects believed that th e i r partners' violence stemmed from problems and stress associated with their work, and four women believed that a major contributing factor to their man's violent tendencies was his experiences in Vietnam. Perceived contingency. Explanations offered by 14 women who perceived some relationship between aspects of themselves and the abuse referred to their independent or outspoken natures. An explanation from one woman was "he wanted me to stay the way I was when we f i r s t got married, and I wanted to go back to school and get a job," and from another, "he couldn't understand why I wanted to do things for myself." Related comments by four women indicated that their men wanted them to be di f f e r e n t sorts of people than they were. Other explanations included one woman's comment that she did not give her husband the attention he wanted, and another's response that she was stubborn. One sa l i e n t feature of many of these explanations concerned the way in which the t r a i t s to which the women referred were evaluated by them. The majority of women who had noticed a relati o n s h i p between some aspect of themselves and the abuse appeared to evaluate the t r a i t or behavior referred to in a posi t i v e l i g h t . As mentioned, a number of subjects attributed 81 t h e i r p a r t n e r ' s a b u s e t o t h e i r i n d e p e n d e n t o r o u t s p o k e n n a t u r e . I n a d d i t i o n t o t h e comments n o t e d a b o v e was a remar k f r o m one s u b j e c t t h a t h e r i n d e p e n d e n c e c h a l l e n g e d h e r p a r t n e r ' s s e c u r i t y . A n o t h e r woman s a i d t h a t h e r p a r t n e r r e s e n t e d t h e f a c t t h a t s h e a l w a y s s p o k e h e r m i n d . O t h e r e x a m p l e s o f e x p l a n a t i o n s t h a t a p p e a r e d t o r e f l e c t p o s i t i v e l y e v a l u a t e d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s r e f e r r e d t o t h e woman's f r i e n d l i n e s s , an u n w i l l i n g n e s s t o be d o m i n a t e d , a n d a comment f r o m one s u b j e c t t h a t s h e was v e r b a l l y " f a s t e r " t h a n h e r p a r t n e r . 2  P e r c e i v e d C a u s e s o f P a r t n e r s ' V i o l e n c e T h r e e c a t e g o r i e s o f c a u s e s e n c o m p a s s e d t h e m a j o r i t y o f r e s p o n s e s t o t h e i t e m "What do y o u t h i n k c a u s e s y o u r p a r t n e r t o a b u s e y o u ? " The f i r s t i n c l u d e d r e f e r e n c e s by 11 women t o t h e man's i n s e c u r i t y , j e a l o u s y a n d p o s s e s s i v e n e s s ; t h e s e c o n d c a t e g o r y i n v o l v e d e x p l a n a t i o n s by s i x women t h a t p o i n t e d t o "macho" c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h e men, a n d t o t h e v i e w t h a t t h e y h a d t o p r o v e t h e i r manhood t h r o u g h v i o l e n t means; a n d t h i r d , f i v e women g a v e r e s p o n s e s t h a t r e f e r r e d t o t h e i r p a r t n e r s ' a n g e r w i t h t h e m s e l v e s a n d o t h e r s . T h i s t h i r d c a t e g o r y i n c l u d e d e x p l a n a t i o n s s u c h a s f e a r o f f a i l u r e , s e l f - l o a t h i n g , a n d an i n a b i l i t y on t h e p a r t o f many men t o d e a l w i t h t h e i r e m o t i o n s . I n a d d i t i o n t o t h e a b o v e , o t h e r e x p l a n a t i o n s o f f e r e d e m p h a s i z e d s t r e s s , u p b r i n g i n g , a n d a l c o h o l . S u b j e c t s were a l s o a s k e d w h e t h e r t h e y h a d a n y v i e w s on what c a u s e s d o m e s t i c v i o l e n c e i n g e n e r a l , b u t f o r t h e most p a r t t h e s e r e s p o n s e s d i d n o t d i f f e r f r o m c a u s e s c i t e d f o r t h e i r own a b u s e , o r women s i m p l y s t a t e d t h a t t h e y d i d n o t know. 82 DISCUSSION The predicted relationships among the major variables of interest in t h i s investigation were p a r t i a l l y upheld, but in addition to testing s p e c i f i c hypotheses, a major objective of t h i s study was to determine the extent to which existing s o c i a l psychological theory and research on reactions to negative l i f e events could account for the experiences of victims of domestic violence. To t h i s end, the present research e f f o r t has provided several informative findings that have implications for research in the f i e l d of a t t r i b u t i o n , as well as for researchers and p r a c t i t i o n e r s in the area of domestic abuse. Two general findings appear p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g . The f i r s t concerns predictors of coping, and the second, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between subjects' a t t r i b u t i o n s for negative l i f e events and their a f f e c t i v e reactions to these events. Both w i l l be discussed in d e t a i l below. In addition, the results pertaining to the a v o i d a b i l i t y and outcome variables w i l l be discussed, as w i l l the nature of the concept "coping." F i n a l l y , implications of the current findings for research in a t t r i b u t i o n and domestic violence w i l l be reviewed. Predictors of Coping The general prediction that both a t t r i b u t i o n s and a f f e c t would relate to the coping c a p a b i l i t i e s of battered women was supported, but the s p e c i f i c hypothesis that self-blame in victims of domestic abuse would be associated with e f f e c t i v e coping was not borne out. In fact, no relationship emerged 83 between victims' a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame and their a b i l i t y to cope. However, i t was not the case that causal a t t r i b u t i o n s per se assumed no importance in understanding how battered women deal with their s i t u a t i o n . Subjects' perceptions of the degree of "contingency" between aspects of themselves ( s p e c i f i c actions or personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ) and the abusive behavior of their partners was related to e f f e c t i v e coping on the part of abused women in t h i s study. In the following discussion an attempt w i l l be made to characterize in more d e t a i l the nature of t h i s relationship, drawing in part from comments made by subjects during t h e i r interviews. Contingency Evaluation. An important point to be made in understanding the nature of the contingency variable in the current sample and the association between contingency and coping i s the finding that, for the most part, the t r a i t or behavior to which these women attributed the violence was evaluated by them in a positive l i g h t , or was something about themselves that they did not want to change. For instance, a number of subjects reported that they f e l t their independence, or tendency to be outspoken, was related to the abusive behavior of their partners. Previous research with men and women in abusive relationships has indicated that both partners often adhere to t r a d i t i o n a l sex role stereotypes. Here i t seemed to be the case that these women did not want to or could not comfortably f i t into the roles demanded of them. This suggestion i s supported by comments such as, "He wants me to do a l l the 'wife' things, to be 84 t r a d i t i o n a l " ; "He doesn't want me to do anything for myself, to go to school or get a job." Women who were quick to acknowledge that a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c such as independence on their part was not appreciated by their partners and may well have provoked violent hehavior also gave the impression that t h i s was a qual i t y in themselves that they were unwilling to change. The notion of a "person" or internal a t t r i b u t i o n being evaluated in either a positive or negative l i g h t appears to be a novel dimension in theory and research on a t t r i b u t i o n s . While the outcome of an event (e.g., win or lose) has been evaluated for i t s importance to the individual (Abramson et a l . , 1978), similar questions have not been asked of the at t r i b u t i o n s subjects make concerning personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . A personal a t t r i b u t i o n for a negative event has been assumed, i t would appear, to connote negative self-evaluations. In the context of the current research, however, a t t r i b u t i n g a negative event to a ch a r a c t e r i s t i c such as fri e n d l i n e s s or i n t e l l i g e n c e , about which one feels p o s i t i v e l y , appears to have positive ramifications in that i t i s associated with e f f e c t i v e coping. This interpretation may in fact shed some l i g h t on the Bulman and Wortman (1977) findings with regard to self-blame in victims of "freak" accidents. These researchers suggested that e f f e c t i v e copers were often those individuals who were engaged in freely chosen l e i s u r e a c t i v i t i e s when an accident occurred, such as hang-gliding or diving. Perhaps the self-blame reported by these people r e f l e c t e d a be l i e f that their "adventurousness" put them at ris k for a potential misfortune. That i s , they could 85 adjust more readily to their fates, knowing that they had w i l l i n g l y engaged in a p o t e n t i a l l y dangerous a c t i v i t y , and further, that t h e i r adventurousness was a quality they viewed in a positive l i g h t . Multiple observations. One reason why- the concept of contingency emerged in t h i s research was that a t t r i b u t i o n s were being made for events that were witnessed time and again. The long-term, recurrent nature of abuse in violent relationships i s in fact what sets battered women apart from most other victims. E s s e n t i a l l y , these women were aware of a covariation between thei r behavior and the abuse over a period of time. From this perspective, attribution-making within abusive relationships can be understood within the framework of Kelley's (1967; 1971) theory of a t t r i b u t i o n s for multiple observations. Kelley argues that people act l i k e s t a t i s t i c i a n s when searching for the causes of events, in that they take note of those factors in their environments which tend to covary over time. The cause of a s p e c i f i c event w i l l generally be found among the conditions that vary as the event occurs. It may be the case that for victims of traumatic events such as accidents or rape ("single observations"), the notion of contingency between se l f and other would be more d i f f i c u l t to detect. Behavioral-Characterological blame. It was the recurrent nature of the women's vict i m i z a t i o n that illuminated the inadequacy of the behavioral-characterological self-blame d i s t i n c t i o n (Janoff-Bulman, 1979) for t h i s sample of subjects. It w i l l be r e c a l l e d that behavioral blame refers to s p e c i f i c 86 behavioral acts that led to a negative event, while characterological blame involves the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of an enduring personal quality that engendered the outcome. This d i s t i n c t i o n becomes blurred when one s h i f t s from acute to chronic events. To blame repeated acts of v i c t i m i z a t i o n on one's recurrent behavior would seem to be conceptually indistinguishable from blaming one's character or d i s p o s i t i o n . It i s not surprising that the i n i t i a l research supporting t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n was based on a t t r i b u t i o n s made for single, imagined events. Just as single observations are less l i k e l y to provide data for the perception of contingency, so too would they be more l i k e l y to f a c i l i t a t e d i s t i n c t i o n s between s p e c i f i c behaviors and personality t r a i t s . Recent research by Peterson et a l . (1981) lends support to the suggestion that t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n becomes blurred with the passage of time. The more s t r e s s f u l l i f e events reported by subjects on a l i f e events questionnaire, the more subjects blamed the i r characters or dispositions for the outcomes of negative events. What remains constant over the years i s one's character,.and hence character i s inferred to be the cause of events. It has been argued that behavioral blame f a c i l i t a t e s a sense of control and hence adjustment, while characterological blame leads to feelings of helplessness and depression (Janoff-Bulman, 1979; Peterson et a l . , 1981). In the current research, not only was i t d i f f i c u l t conceptually and empirically to separate these a t t r i b u t i o n s , but in addition, a t t r i b u t i o n s made to aspects of one's character were more complex than i n i t i a l l y 87 envisioned. As discussed above, the evaluation of a given t r a i t as either positive or negative may influence one's adjustment. Further, some women cit e d d i s p o s i t i o n a l q u a l i t i e s that characterized themselves in the present, while others c i t e d t r a i t s that they believed no longer characterized themselves. For example, women who described themselves as independent were re f e r r i n g to a t r a i t that currently applied, while some subjects attributed their v i c t i m i z a t i o n to their youth or naivete, t r a i t s that they believed they no longer possessed. Blaming d i s p o s i t i o n a l q u a l i t i e s , even undesirable ones, may not lead to depression or helplessness i f these q u a l i t i e s are no longer seen to characterize the s e l f . In fact, blaming one's former q u a l i t i e s might even f a c i l i t a t e the adjustment process since t h i s type of blame would have the advantage of both explaining the past and in s p i r i n g optimism for the future. It i s interesting in t h i s connection that the descriptions of di s p o s i t i o n a l causes c i t e d by the depressed subjects of Peterson et a l . (1981) were almost invariably phrased in the present tense. Contingency versus blame. It was clear from the responses of the battered women interviewed that the acknowledgement of a relat i o n s h i p between aspects of themselves and the abuse they suffered did not constitute an admission of blame, at least to the extent that blame connotes moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . They did not f e e l that the abuse was j u s t i f i e d ; on the contrary they saw i t as unacceptable behavior. The importance of the d i s t i n c t i o n between perceived contingency and blame i s further supported by 88 the absence of a relationship between the measure of contingency and blame a t t r i b u t i o n s . There i s a tendency among a t t r i b u t i o n theorists to equate the concepts of blame, r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , and c a u s a l i t y . Recently, however, Harvey and Rule (1978) have contended that there are important d i s t i n c t i o n s between moral evaluation and attr i b u t i o n s of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . They point out that causal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for an outcome i s assigned to an individual because he or she has taken some action that results in a pa r t i c u l a r outcome, whereas moral evaluation refers to the deservingness of blame or cr e d i t for the outcome. A similar argument i s presented by Fincham and Jaspers (1980). And in a study investigating a t t r i b u t i o n s made to rape victims, Krulewitz and Nash (1979) also distinguish between blame and f a u l t on the one hand, and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y on the other. The former, they argue, are concepts that imply moral wrongdoing, and the l a t t e r seems to imply causal involvement. The aforementioned c r i t i q u e s refer to research concerned with a t t r i b u t i o n s of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and blame made to others, but to date i t appears that no one has applied such d i s t i n c t i o n s to s e l f - a t t r i b u t i o n s and in p a r t i c u l a r to l i t e r a t u r e dealing with self-blame. But unless these concepts are c l e a r l y defined and distinguished for subjects, the meaning of their responses to "blame" questions may be somewhat ambiguous. An individual who responds a f f i r m a t i v e l y to a self-blame question may be taking causal but not moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , or both causal and moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . It may well be that much of the victim self-blame reported in the l i t e r a t u r e i s not so much blame or 89 moral evaluation as i t i s a perception of causal r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . For instance, while a rape victim may indicate that she feels she i s to blame because she walked home alone, t h i s may simply imply that the outcome in large part resulted from her action, not that she perceived herself to be morally at fault for her vic t i m i z a t i o n . Too l i b e r a l a use of the word "blame" by professionals and laymen a l i k e may contribute to a dis t o r t e d understanding of individuals' perceived causal role in their v i c t i m i z a t i o n . Cause versus occasion. A somewhat d i f f e r e n t d i s t i n c t i o n with regard to causal role than those described above that may in fact be quite relevant to the current research with battered women has been proposed by the legal philosophers, Hart and Honore (1959). They contend that in some instances, one can distinguish between the cause of an event and the occasion within which a cause operates. As an i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n , consider a victim of the f t . If one were to leave the i g n i t i o n keys in one's car, t h i s could provide the occasion for theft, but does not constitute the p r i n c i p a l cause of a burglar's actions. In the present study, those women who saw a contingency between themselves and their partners' abuse appeared to be suggesting that their independence or outspoken nature provided the occasion for the abusive behavior of their partner but not the cause. The cause lay within the abuser, but the abuse manifested i t s e l f as a result of some c h a r a c t e r i s t i c way in which the women behaved. Being the occasion for the violence, rather than the cause, would generally not make one \ 90 f e e l accountable for the abuse. Relationship between contingency and coping. A common argument that has been offered to explain the r e l a t i o n s h i p between self-blame for negative outcomes and e f f e c t i v e coping i s a need on the part of victims to perceive that they can, control th e i r fate. Blaming oneself i s believed to promote a sense of control i f the causal factors are perceived to be modifiable. S i m i l a r l y , the a b i l i t y to perceive an orderly r e l a t i o n s h i p between one's behaviors and one's outcomes i s said to f a c i l i t a t e coping in that people prefer not to think that negative events occur randomly (e.g., Wortman, 1976). It has also been suggested that the need for meaning may lead individuals to blame themselves for their misfortunes (Bulman & Wortman, 1977). In p a r t i c u l a r , t h i s motive may surface when individuals are faced with t r u l y uncontrollable outcomes such as permanent paralysis or terminal i l l n e s s , for which future control i s irrelevant. The current finding that abused women coped better i f they perceived a contingency between some aspect of themselves and their partners' abuse would seem to be consistent with a control interpretation, p a r t i c u l a r l y i f one adopts the view that these individuals saw themselves as the occasion, rather than the cause, of the violence. In fact, t h i s relationship may be somewhat more straightforward than an interpretation of s e l f -blame as a control response. In l i g h t of the maladaptive connotations associated with self-blame, i t has appeared counterintuitive to suggest that blaming oneself for negative outcomes can have po s i t i v e ramifications. In the case of 91 battered women, the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of a personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c that occasioned the abuse, but did not leave them feeling morally accountable for the abuse, could provide them with a sense of meaning and order, as well as with the perception that they could control the abuse i f they acted d i f f e r e n t l y . Furthermore, to interpret their abuse in t h i s manner should imply that a future r e l a t i o n s h i p would not necessarily be an abusive one. It also seems reasonable to suggest that the i n a b i l i t y to perceive any logic or order to the violence, or the i n a b i l i t y to see any aspect of one's behavior that might occasion the abuse, may well leave the victim with a sense of helplessness (e.g., Seligman, 1975). To be assaulted verbally and p h y s i c a l l y time and again, and yet be unable to ascertain why or under what circumstances the abuse i s l i k e l y to occur would indeed appear to leave one feeling helpless, frustrated and a f r a i d . Blame and coping. While a concern for control may explain the r e l a t i o n s h i p between perceived contingency and successful adjustment, why should blame not function in a similar manner? That i s , why i s contingency and not blame related to coping? One reason may relate to the need discussed above for more e x p l i c i t d e f i n i t i o n s of blame, r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , and c a u s a l i t y . A question such as "To what extent are you to blame ..." as used in the current investigation may be too imprecise to reasonably expect a r e l a t i o n s h i p with coping to emerge. Not only may the concept of blame be confused with less evaluative meanings associated with causal role but, 92 p a r t i c u l a r l y in the context of domestic violence, blame for the abuse may be multidimensional. One can ask, for example, what are victims blaming themselves for? Open-ended responses from the women in t h i s research suggested that abused women can blame themselves for causing the abuse, for the i r i n a b i l i t y to modify their partners' abusive actions, or for to l e r a t i n g the abuse and not leaving the relationship sooner than they did. Adjustment may well relate d i f f e r e n t i a l l y to blame, depending on the type of blame involved. In fact, i t may be the case that the type of blame a battered woman attri b u t e s to herself w i l l prove to be more integral to an understanding of her psychological state than the degree of blame she takes for the violence. If a relationship between blame and coping does ex i s t , i t may have been masked in t h i s research by the f a i l u r e to d i f f e r e n t i a t e among di f f e r e n t dimensions of self-blame. An alt e r n a t i v e explanation for the absence of a relationship between blame and coping should be considered. Attr i b u t i o n theory is founded on the presumption that people attempt to explain events in their l i v e s . While th i s assumption may hold true for most individuals in their day-to-day encounters, i t may be the case that searching for causes of behavior, and p a r t i c u l a r l y placement of blame in some circumstances, serves l i t t l e purpose and therefore shows no relationship to other variables such as coping. Bulman and Wortman (1977) suggested that self-blame in accident victims seemed to be indicative of a need for an orderly and meaningful world. Women who have l e f t an abusive relationship and are 93 l i v i n g with their children in a temporary shelter have a number of high p r i o r i t y needs upon which to focus t h e i r concern. At least while in the shelter, the search for order and meaning in past events i s probably far less important than making decisions that w i l l impose some sense of order on the present. Whether or not placement of blame may eventually come to serve a need for order and meaning i s discussed below. Social psychological research on the link between a person's attitudes and his or her behavior may be relevant to th i s point. It has been argued (e.g., Fazio & Zanna, 1981) that only those attitudes which are salient to an individual may be reasonably related to his or her actions. Viewed from th i s perspective, women who have recently been the victims of domestic abuse and who are concerned for the i r own and their children's safety and security may not have time to r e f l e c t on the causes of their v i c t i m i z a t i o n , or at least, their causal a t t r i b u t i o n s may not be p a r t i c u l a r l y s a l i e n t to them at this point. Victims of.accidents such as those interviewed by Bulman and Wortman (1977) may on the other hand have an overabundance of time while hospitalized to r e f l e c t on such questions. The a b i l i t y to perceive a contingency between one's behavior and the abuse, on the other hand, may f a c i l i t a t e coping. Unlike blame, perceived contingency may be linked to a woman's self-concept, and therefore be more s a l i e n t . A p r o f i l e of such an individual might depict her as someone who thinks well of herself (evaluates her t r a i t s in a posit i v e l i g h t ) and describes her partner as one who was threatened by her, jealous, 94 or otherwise made to fe e l insecure by the type of person she was. Thus contingency seems much more c l o s e l y linked to subjects' ways of viewing the world than does placement of blame. Distance from the v i c t i m i z a t i o n . One interesting question is the extent to which blame changes over time and i t s concomitant association with variables such as adjustment. In contexts other than domestic violence, s i t u a t i o n a l explanations for events were found to be more common the more the event receded in time (Miller & Porter, 1980). Bulman and Wortman (1977) also reported that victims of accidents saw th e i r accidents as more "environmentally" caused the further in the past they were. The degree of blame individuals assign to s e l f and other factors, and indeed the extent to which a t t r i b u t i o n s for the event are made at a l l may well depend on the length of time since the vi c t i m i z a t i o n occurred. There are a number of reasons why battered women's assessments of blame might change over time. Many subjects in the current investigation reported that they i n i t i a l l y blamed themselves in their relationships u n t i l a point was reached wherein they t r u l y believed they were doing nothing wrong. Often t h i s perspective does not become salient u n t i l a woman has sought counselling or spent time in a shelter and found out just how common wife abuse i s as well as some of the reasons for i t . If she has become involved with another man who does not abuse her, the woman w i l l have further evidence that i t was not "her" who caused the]violence. Further, once a woman has l e f t an 95 abusive relationship, has relocated and feels somewhat secure f i n a n c i a l l y and emotionally, she may be more motivated to seek an understanding of past events in her l i f e . Weiss (1975) reports that divorced individuals often spend what seems to outsiders as an inordinate amount of time analyzing the events in their marriages in order to understand and perhaps reach some sort of closure with regard to the past. As discussed above, battered women may be too preoccupied with more urgent concerns immediately following their departure from their abusive partner to engage in such analyses at that time. It would be p a r t i c u l a r l y interesting to undertake an investigation of battered women that measured blame and i t s rela t i o n s h i p to coping repeatedly from a point in time well before they l e f t their relationships, u n t i l they had se t t l e d comfortably into a new l i f e s t y l e . Affect Perhaps the least surprising result to emerge from t h i s research was the positi v e r e l a t i o n s h i p between affect and coping. Women who reported themselves to be generally happy and free from symptoms of depression and other negatively toned emotions were rated by shelter counselors as good copers. It i s possible either that depressed mood interferes with the women's a b i l i t y to take constructive action to ameliorate th e i r s i t u a t i o n , or that the i n a b i l i t y to cope can lead to negative affect and depressive symptoms. Of course, i t i s also possible that both forms of influence may occur. What i s perhaps more interesting i s that a f f e c t does indeed 96 emerge as an important variable to be included in studies examining how people react and adjust to traumatic events in their l i v e s . Where emotional reactions have been investigated in previous research, they often tend to be of low intensity, generated by laboratory events or hypothetical scenarios. In such contexts i t i s d i f f i c u l t to ascertain the extent to which a f f e c t i v e reactions contribute to an understanding of an individual's behavioral adjustment, and the rel a t i o n s h i p between af f e c t and a t t r i b u t i o n a l patterns. Theoretical models of domestic violence have been proposed (e.g., Frieze, 1979) that emphasize the causal importance of at t r i b u t i o n s in determining how battered women react to their abuse, but tend to neglect the potential contribution of the women's emotional state. Based on the results of thi s research, these models may be shortsighted. The current findings provide support for the suggestion that in some contexts, a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame cannot be assumed to account for the major proportion of variance in individuals' responses to events in their l i v e s . Summary To b r i e f l y summarize the above discussion, the best predictors of coping to emerge in thi s research were perceived contingency and a f f e c t . The notion of contingency as i t emerged in t h i s research should be distinguished from the concept of blame where blame c a r r i e s with i t a connotation of moral wrongdoing. A distinguishing c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of contingency responses of the battered women interviewed here was a tendency to evaluate in a posit i v e l i g h t the personal disposition to 9 7 which these women attributed their partners' abusive behavior. Moreover, i t was suggested that subjects' perceptions of contingency might best be understood to mean that they saw themselves as occasions for, rather than the cause of, their partners' violence. The relationship between contingency and coping f i t s well within a control motivation interpretation as the a b i l i t y to ide n t i f y some l o g i c a l pattern in the abuse might enable women to control, or at least predict, their partners' violent outbursts. It was also proposed that the absence of a rela t i o n s h i p between blame and e f f e c t i v e coping might be due to the imprecise nature of the blame questions posed to subjects. An al t e r n a t i v e explanation offered suggests that in some contexts, and depending on the temporal distance from the vi c t i m i z a t i o n , placement of blame may serve l i t t l e purpose in f a c i l i t a t i n g coping with one's fate. The a b i l i t y to perceive a contingency between oneself and the abuser's behavior, on the other hand, seemed more clos e l y t i e d than did blame to the women's concept of s e l f . In their s e l f - d e s c r i p t i o n s many women appeared to have a stable and coherent view of themselves that enabled them to understand more f u l l y not only themselves, but also the dynamics of their relationship. The finding that af f e c t also predicts the coping c a p a b i l i t i e s of battered women provides support for the view that emotional reactions are important for an understanding of how people respond to negative events. While i t came as no surprise that po s i t i v e emotions were associated with good coping, in that depression i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y associated with 98 impaired motivational and behavioral performance (e.g., Abramson & Martin, 1981), t h i s finding i s nevertheless int e r e s t i n g . It provides new evidence for the role played by a f f e c t i v e reactions in i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p with a t t r i b u t i o n a l patterns, as well as behavioral adjustment in natural settings. The Relationship between Affect and Attributions P a r t i c u l a r l y in view of the strong support that the rela t i o n s h i p between at t r i b u t i o n s and af f e c t has received in other psychological research, the absence in general of such a c o r r e l a t i o n here i s noteworthy. In research reviewed above, internal a t t r i b u t i o n s for negative outcomes have been found to be associated with depression (e.g., Abramson & Martin, 1981) and a t t r i b u t i o n s for both success and f a i l u r e experiences have been linked with s p e c i f i c a f f e c t i v e reactions. However, in the current investigation, subjects' composite aff e c t scores were related to neither blame at t r i b u t i o n s nor perceived contingency. As the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) has been used extensively in studies l i n k i n g a t t r i b u t i o n s with depression, i t seemed p a r t i c u l a r l y surprising that no rel a t i o n s h i p emerged here between women's scores on the BDI, which represented a f u l l range of depressive symptoms, and their explanations for the violence. A discussion of these findings w i l l focus on two general, related questions: (1) what c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the current sample and the traumatic event with which they were dealing might provide an explanation for these r e s u l t s , and (2) on what 99 dimensions does the present research d i f f e r from previous studies that could shed l i g h t on these findings? Victims of Domestic Violence The degree of relationship between an individual's explanation for and emotional reaction to an event may well depend to a large extent on the event i t s e l f . In the l i t e r a t u r e to date, l i t t l e systematic attention has been given to differences among negative events. Many things may make an event a negative experience. The event, for instance, may threaten some personal need of the in d i v i d u a l , such as the need for e f f e c t i v e control or the need for high self-esteem. Indeed for many negative events, e s p e c i a l l y hypothetical events or those created in the laboratory, threats to psychological motives or needs may constitute the major determinant of any negative af f e c t that i s aroused. Furthermore, since the degree of threat that a negative event poses to a person's self-esteem or need for control has been found to be influenced by the person's explanations of the event (e.g., M i l l e r & Porter, in press; Wortman, 1976) i t i s not surprising to find that causal a t t r i b u t i o n s and a f f e c t i v e experiences are s i g n i f i c a n t l y related in such contexts. Other events, however, give r i s e to negative consequences that go far beyond threats to psychological motives. Sources of negative af f e c t can stem, for example, from fear for one's physical well-being, fear of public shame, or di s t r e s s over how one i s going to cope with an uncertain future. In situations that produce a d i v e r s i t y of negative consequences, and 100 associated negative a f f e c t , i t seems questionable whether causal at t r i b u t i o n s and experienced a f f e c t w i l l be correlated. Consider a woman who has l e f t her abusive husband and taken her children to a shelter where she fears her husband w i l l discover her and who despairs of finding a job to support herself and her family. Because her emotional state w i l l be influenced by a number of urgent concerns, i t does not seem l i k e l y that t h i s woman's a t t r i b u t i o n a l analysis of her vic t i m i z a t i o n w i l l be a major determinant of her a f f e c t i v e state. This speculation could be readily extended to other contexts. For instance, a victim of an accident res u l t i n g in permanent paralysis probably suffers tremendous grie f and i s overwhelmed with concerns about his or her a b i l i t y to cope with p a r a l y s i s . In their study of accident victims, Bulman and Wortman (1977) reported no correlations between a t t r i b u t i o n s and reported happiness. An i n t r i g u i n g study would be one in which the importance of blame and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y a t t r i b u t i o n s was assessed in r e l a t i o n to severity of fate. How badly you f e e l about doing poorly on an exam may be greatly affected by how you explain your performance but i t i s unlikely that your reaction to the death of your c h i l d from cancer w i l l be as strongly influenced by your causal analysis of the c h i l d ' s death. In short, what i s being argued here i s that causal analyses of traumatic events may not account for a large proportion of the variance in victims' emotional reactions to those events, esp e c i a l l y when the event c a r r i e s with i t a variety of unfortunate consequences. The point made above about temporal 101 distance from the event i s also relevant here. The consequences of negative events can change or diminish in importance over time and thus the relat i o n s h i p between causal explanations and af f e c t i v e or adjustment measures might be expected to vary, depending upon when the measures were co l l e c t e d . Comparisons with Prior Research Evidence for an a t t r i b u t i o n - a f f e c t link has come primarily from laboratory studies or classroom questionnaires investigating students' emotional reactions to exam outcomes (Weiner et a l . , 1979) and the a t t r i b u t i o n a l patterns of depressed versus nondepressed students (Abramson et a l . , 1979). Researchers in both of these areas claim that t h e i r results can be generalized to contexts outside the laboratory, involving other populations and di f f e r e n t events. There appear to be two dimensions on which the current study d i f f e r s from previous investigations, and these differences cast doubt on, or at least q u a l i f y , t h i s assumption of generality. The f i r s t point i s that the negative event upon which the present study has focused d i f f e r s in important respects from laboratory outcomes, and as outlined above, the extent to which a f f e c t i v e reactions are linked to causal explanations may depend to a large degree on the nature of the event i t s e l f . Methodologies t y p i c a l of prior investigations where affe c t and att r i b u t i o n s are linked require subjects to react to hypothetical outcomes such as exam f a i l u r e , or an unpleasant personal interaction. In contrast to the si t u a t i o n faced by abused women , most of these imagined events would not appear to 102 have a variety of profound consequences. While causal explanations for these events may be associated with a f f e c t , to generalize to more traumatic contexts is questionable. In the l a t t e r case, a range and intensity of variables exists that for the most part cannot be examined in laboratory situations and which may contribute far more to the variance in emotional reaction than do causal explanations. Second, the causal factors to which people a t t r i b u t e events may d i f f e r in degree of complexity, and this may influence the extent to which a f f e c t i v e reactions are found to relate to a t t r i b u t i o n s . E a r l i e r i t was pointed out that a battered woman who attributes the cause of her victmization to herself may have in mind one of several alternative causal factors: a negative c h a r a c t e r i s t i c within herself, her i n a b i l i t y to modify her partner's behavior, or her tolerance of the abuse. In contrast, the r e l a t i v e s i m p l i c i t y of situations used in laboratory studies of negative outcomes makes the question of blame assignment a much easier task. Attributions may in fact be associated with emotional states i f the causal factors to which one attributes an outcome are r e l a t i v e l y s p e c i f i c . Thus the relationship between causal a t t r i b u t i o n s and af f e c t reported in laboratory research may derive from the fact that subjects were asked to search for causes for unidimensional events. This proposal might f a c i l i t a t e an understanding of the s i g n i f i c a n t negative r e l a t i o n s h i p found in the current research between partner blame and subjects' ratings of positive emotional mood. In contrast to questions of self-blame posed to 103 battered women, attributions of blame to one's partner appeared to be more straightforward and unidimensional. If finer d i s t i n c t i o n s in self-blame had been u t i l i z e d in the present study, a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame might in fact have been found to correlate with a f f e c t i v e state. Partner Blame Apart from methodological considerations, the corr e l a t i o n between partner blame and affe c t i s interesting as i t provides some corroboration for previous research findings. In the current study, women who blamed their partners did not describe themselves . as calm, happy and op t i m i s t i c . S i m i l a r l y , Newman and Langer (1981) reported that divorced women who attributed the cause of their marital breakup to personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of their spouses were in general more unhappy, less optimistic and less s o c i a l l y active than those who made attr i b u t i o n s to interactive causes such as problems in communication. Further, research by Madden and Bulman (1982) found that women who blamed marital c o n f l i c t on their husbands were not s a t i s f i e d with their marriages. In their study of accident victims, Bulman and Wortman (1977) reported that individuals who blamed an "adversary other" for their fate were not rated as coping well with their v i c t i m i z a t i o n . The current findings thus appear to lend additional support to the view that blaming another for one's misfortune i s not p a r t i c u l a r l y adaptive. 104 Summary The r e l a t i o n s h i p between aff e c t and a t t r i b u t i o n s was discussed in some d e t a i l because the current research did not corroborate the findings of previous investigations. In focusing on the nature of the negative event under investigation, i t was contended that the degree to which there are a d i v e r s i t y of unfortunate consequences associated with i t might serve to mitigate the relationship between explanations for, and emotional reactions to the event. An individual's reaction to an exam f a i l u r e may be closely t i e d to his or her explanation for the outcome. However, emotional state i s l i k e l y to be multiply determined for victims of more serious misfortune, and the variance in a f f e c t i s unlikely to be largely accounted for by a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame or contingency. This explanation also serves to underscore the difference between the current research and those laboratory and classroom studies that have reported a consistent r e l a t i o n s h i p between a t t r i b u t i o n s and a f f e c t . The hypothetical negative events to which subjects have responded in p r i o r research appear q u a l i t a t i v e l y d i s t i n c t from traumatic outcomes in natural settings, and generalizations stemming from such laboratory work should be made cautiously. A l t e r n a t i v e l y , the absence of an a t t r i b u t i o n - a f f e c t link may have resulted from the imprecise nature of the blame measurements u t i l i z e d in the current study, support for which was revealed by a c o r r e l a t i o n between aff e c t and blaming one's partner, a less ambiguous a t t r i b u t i o n question than self-blame. Partner blame was then discussed in l i g h t of similar findings. 1 05 Avoidabi l i t y and Outcome While seeing one's vic t i m i z a t i o n as "unavoidable" was not related to e f f e c t i v e coping as i t was in the Bulman and Wortman (1977) research, the concept of a v o i d a b i l i t y may nevertheless be an important one in understanding some of the dynamics of domestic violence. One interesting result to emerge here was the finding that those women who perceived a contingency between aspects of themselves and their partners' abuse also perceived the i r v i c t i m i z a t i o n as unavoidable. (On a scale of one to f i v e , the question was "To what extent do you see the violence as having been avoidable, i f you, your partner, or circumstances had changed or been different?") The foregoing discussion of contingency provides some insight into the nature of thi s r e l a t i o n s h i p . It was pointed out that women who perceived a relati o n s h i p between themselves and their abuse often described the personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c to which they attributed the violence in a positi v e manner, or believed i t to be a dimension of their personality with which they were comfortable and not l i k e l y to change for someone else. In t h i s regard, i t i s not surprising that they viewed th e i r fate as not ea s i l y avoidable. Comments from the women such as, "I couldn't be a d i f f e r e n t person for him" support t h i s reasoning. Although not d i r e c t l y related to coping, the perception of one's fate as unavoidable seemed to carry with i t posi t i v e connotations. Perceiving one's lot as avoidable or unavoidable raises some interesting questions with regard to how we come to understand past events in our l i v e s . In responding to the 106 question of a v o i d a b i l i t y in t h i s research, subjects were asked to consider whether a change in themselves, their partners, or their circumstances could have influenced the extent to which they were victimized. The impression one received from women's responses was that the interaction among contributing factors was too complex to expect a r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t resolution of the s i t u a t i o n . Those women who believed that they themselves could not have changed also often implied, or s p e c i f i c a l l y stated, that i t . was their own personality in interaction with their partner's which contributed to the state of c o n f l i c t and which, at least in retrospect, l e f t them convinced that nothing could have been done to al t e r the si t u a t i o n . S i m i l a r i t i e s exist between t h i s view of unavoidability and the a t t r i b u t i o n s of divorced women reported by Newman and Langer (1981), discussed above. Women who made interactive a t t r i b u t i o n s for their divorces scored more p o s i t i v e l y on measures of contentedness and self-esteem than did those who attributed their divorces to their, partners. Interactive a t t r i b u t i o n s referred to explanations pointing to features of the couple i t s e l f , such as problems in communication and general incompatibility. While Newman and Langer argue that interactive a t t r i b u t i o n s enable people to assess more r e a l i s t i c a l l y the reasons for a f a i l e d marriage, an alte r n a t i v e interpretation i s that such explanations provide people with a sense that i t was-not within their power to a l t e r the situ a t i o n or the outcome. Instead of spending useless energy attempting to undo the past, one may be better off in assuming that i t could not have been 107 otherwise (e.g., see Kahneman et a l . , 1982). An intriguing question concerns the extent to which our understanding of events changes over time, and whether we come to see things as more unavoidable or inevitable the more the event recedes into the past. This raises issues of relevance to counselors: should attempts be made to encourage a pa r t i c u l a r perspective of events, or do people need to work through d i f f e r e n t stages of understanding at their own pace? The finding that a v o i d a b i l i t y was also related to whether or not the battered women in th i s study returned to the i r abusive partners lends credence to the view that seeing one's si t u a t i o n as unavoidable may serve a positive function. The more avoidable the women perceived their v i c t i m i z a t i o n to be, the more l i k e l y were they to return to their partners.' One obvious interpretation of t h i s finding i s that those women who were optimistic that steps could be taken to ameliorate their s i t u a t i o n were w i l l i n g to give their r e l a t i o n s h i p another chance. And following from the above discussion, women who sensed that nothing could have been done to a l t e r their s i t u a t i o n were unlikely to subject themselves again to the same fate, and wished to put the past behind them. An alternative interpretation of this finding i s that women who did not want to terminate t h e i r relationships wished to see their situations as avoidable so that at least in their own minds i t did not seem f o o l i s h to return to the i r partners. In th i s regard, i t was interesting that women's answers to the question, "How sure are you that you w i l l or w i l l not return" 108 did not correlate with t h e i r outcomes. With the exception of one indi v i d u a l , those women who f e l t r e l a t i v e l y sure of their future plans indicated that they would not return. Perhaps an acknowledgement that they wished to return seemed inappropriate given the lengths to which they had gone to leave their partners, and the juxtaposition of t h i s sentiment with the facts of their abuse as they recounted them in the interview. By contrast, the a v o i d a b i l i t y question was somewhat more subtle, and thereby e l i c i t e d a more v e r i d i c a l statement of their intentions. Women were also less l i k e l y to return to the i r partners, the longer had been the duration of abuse. This finding does not seem altogether surprising in that many women probably came to re a l i z e over time that t h e i r situation was not going to change, whereas victims of short-term abuse may s t i l l hold out hope that the violence in their r elationship i s not permanent. Long-term abusive relationships would also provide an opportunity to change one's understanding and interpretation of one's vi c t i m i z a t i o n , to see i t perhaps as more unavoidable, and to perceive d i f f e r e n t l y one's own and one's partner's roles in the violence. Additional variables found to distinguish the group of women who returned from those who did not included the number of times a woman had previously l e f t , partner-blame, and negative a f f e c t . The more times a woman had l e f t her partner, the more l i k e l y she was to return. As leavetakings and subsequent returns become more frequent, they are also l i k e l y to be perceived as a 109 less extreme action by the woman, and a commitment not to return would become increasingly weak. The tendency to blame one's partner, and negative a f f e c t also characterized women who returned to their s i t u a t i o n . A recurring theme throughout t h i s discussion has focused on the p o s s i b i l i t y that victimized individuals may a l t e r their a t t r i b u t i o n a l patterns as time goes by. Perhaps the battered women who blamed their partners would subsequently come to interpret their v i c t i m i z a t i o n from a di f f e r e n t perspective, to view i t as unavoidable, or due to complex interactive or si t u a t i o n a l factors. The finding that the women who returned were also characterized by negative af f e c t could be interpreted to mean that although they were not happy with their decision to return, they were not yet ready to separate themselves permanently from their partners. One can speculate that blaming another for one's misfortunes may be associated with feelings of anger and resentment, and finding fault with oneself leaves one with feelings of g u i l t . A t t r i b u t i n g negative experiences a r i s i n g from interpersonal relationships to interactive factors, however, may free individuals from both anger and g u i l t , and from dwelling on the past. This analysis points to a need in future research to focus on the in t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of attr i b u t i o n s and affe c t over time in victims of negative events. Coping: Def i n i t i o n s and Measurement Theorists and researchers from a variety of d i s c i p l i n e s have devoted considerable attention to coping processes among 110 individuals under stress, but as a result of the i n t e r d i s c i p l i n a r y nature of t h i s topic, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to locate consistent d e f i n i t i o n s of e f f e c t i v e coping, as well as consistent approaches to the measurement of t h i s variable. The present investigation i s not unique in t h i s regard, and the issues of d e f i n i t i o n and measurement as they apply to thi s thesis should be b r i e f l y discussed. The conceptual problems in defining successful adjustment have recently been discussed by S i l v e r and Wortman (1980). One point that they address which i s p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant here i s that the decision of what comprises good coping i s often t i e d up with a question of values. Since the measure of coping used in the current study was designed in collaboration with shelter counselors, i t may have r e f l e c t e d , at least in part, a par t i c u l a r philosophy concerning the question of what constitutes successful adjustment among battered women in a shelter. In p a r t i c u l a r , these counselors were in agreement that a woman who sought counseling with her partner was taking po s i t i v e action to ameliorate the sit u a t i o n , and a woman was not thought to be coping poorly simply i f she voiced the intention to return to her partner. In contrast, some shelters for battered women are unequivocal in their b e l i e f that women should not return to their partners, and a major purpose served by counseling strategies i s to discourage women from th i s course of action. One implication of these discrepant philosophies i s that indices of coping among battered women in shelters may vary. While a standard measure of coping to be used in a l l research 111 with battered women might„resolve t h i s problem, such a strategy may either alienate shelter s t a f f who disagreed with the c r i t e r i a in use, or force researchers to omit coping indices of potential importance. Another issue discussed by S i l v e r and Wortman concerns the s t a b i l i t y over time of indices of successful adjustment. To f u l l y understand the in t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p of coping and variables such as af f e c t and causal explanation, i t has been suggested here that measures of these variables at di f f e r e n t temporal distances from a person's v i c t i m i z a t i o n may prove enlightening. However, the c r i t e r i a used to assess adjustment might change, making any comparisons obviously d i f f i c u l t . The problems faced by women in shelters may d i f f e r from those they would face months l a t e r , i f they were l i v i n g separately from their partners, and were employed and supporting their children. With regard to issues of measurement, Folkman and Lazarus (1980) have i d e n t i f i e d several d i f f e r e n t approaches to the study of coping, one of which i s the "situation-oriented" perspective. This approach best describes the one in current use, for what i s measured i s the way in which individuals cope with a s p e c i f i c s i t u a t i o n . Folkman and Lazarus point out that a comprehensive description of coping i s possible using t h i s approach because the d e f i n i t i o n of coping i s not limited to defensive processes or personality t r a i t s , which characterize the other major approaches to measurement discussed by the authors. However, they also argue that research findings from situation-oriented perspectives tend not to be generalizable to other contexts 1 12 because studies often ident i f y coping strategies in unusual sit u a t i o n s . This l i m i t a t i o n has also been i d e n t i f i e d by Bulman and Wortman (1977) in stating that negative l i f e events d i f f e r in the problems in adjustment that they pose for the victim. Clearly, battered women in shelters are faced with d i f f e r e n t concerns than are victims of spinal cord injury. There i s probably no simple or immediate resolution of these problems. For the time being at least, researchers in t h i s area are aware of the complexities inherent in the study of coping, and attempts are being made to ar r i v e at clearer conceptual d e f i n i t i o n s of successful adjustment, as well as to i d e n t i f y the most e f f e c t i v e means of measuring this variable (e.g., see Aldwin et a l . , Note 3). More research that i d e n t i f i e s common coping strategies used by battered women would be helpful to those studying domestic violence. As pointed out by the shelter s t a f f who were consulted in t h i s investigation, such coping assessments could also serve as an evaluation tool for those who work in shelters. Implications A t t r i b u t i o n Theory The current investigation has extended findings of research in the a t t r i b u t i o n t r a d i t i o n by providing several important insights into the i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p among at t r i b u t i o n s , a f f e c t and behavior in victims of negative l i f e events. Of course, in studies that involve r e l a t i v e l y small sample sizes from r e s t r i c t e d contexts, r e p l i c a t i o n i s important before firm 1 13 conclusions can be drawn. Causal search outside the laboratory. The present research has highlighted some of the d i f f i c u l t i e s associated with making generalizations from laboratory investigations of reactions to negative events to natural settings. One question of pa r t i c u l a r importance concerns the extent to which people's causal explanations of events can be assumed to influence their reactions to those events when the event i s p a r t i c u l a r l y severe and has associated with i t a variety of consequences. It has been argued here that in some contexts the impact of victims' causal a t t r i b u t i o n s on their emotional reactions and coping c a p a b i l i t i e s should not be assumed to be profound. In contrast, i t has been strongly contended by researchers studying reactions to negative events in laboratory and classroom settings that causal a t t r i b u t i o n s determine a f f e c t i v e reactions. The results of the present research investigation suggest that such generalizations should be made with caution. In future research, an attempt should be made to determine whether a systematic relationship exists between c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of negative events (such as perceived severity, associated consequences, and the salience of a t t r i b u t i o n a l questions) and the importance of causal explanations in accounting for people's reactions to these events. Attributions of blame. A major impetus for the current study was the intriguing hypothesis that self-blame among victims i s adaptive. Several important and novel insights with regard to blame have emerged in thi s study of battered women. 114 The f i r s t concerns the current finding that victims may acknowledge their role in their v i c t i m i z a t i o n without finding themselves at fault or to blame for their assailant's action. Future research on self-blame among victim populations should distinguish among the concepts of blame or moral evaluation and causal role. In addition, the notion that one can be the occasion for, rather than the cause of, a violent action should be a useful d i s t i n c t i o n in research with victims. We w i l l be in a position to understand how individuals perceive their own roles in the i r v i c t i m i z a t i o n only when we give them the opportunity to explain c l e a r l y what they mean by the phrase " i t ' s my f a u l t . " The second issue also derives from the finding that people can "recognize their causal role in an event but perceive themselves as blameless. What distinguishes those individuals who perceive their role in an event but do not blame themselves from those who recognize the contingency between their behavior and an event's outcome and do fin d fault with themselves? In other words, under what conditions do people blame themselves? An adequate analysis of t h i s question i s beyond the scope of this thesis, however i t i s worth noting here some preliminary speculation with regard to battered women. It i s reasonable to assume that an i n i t i a l perception of contingency, or causal association between one's behavior and the outcome, should be necessary but not sufficent for an individual to blame him or herself for the outcome. Then, at least with regard to the blaming process in battered women, i t 115 seems l i k e l y that an acknowledgment of blame w i l l be highly determined by the individual's personal value judgments. For example, consider a woman who has been abused by her partner, and knows that there is a high p r o b a b i l i t y of a violent response from him, given a p a r t i c u l a r behavior on her part. Blaming herself for the abuse would seem to depend on the woman's b e l i e f s about the appropriateness of her own behavior, as well as that of her partner's. That i s , a woman might f i n d fault with herself i f she f e l t that c r i t i c i z i n g her partner violated a personal norm of acceptable behavior, and in addition, that a violent response from her partner was not an inappropriate reaction. On the other hand, i f any l e v e l of violence was perceived as inappropriate to the woman, then regardless of her actions she may not hold herself to blame for the abuse. One problem with many current analyses of the causes of domestic violence (e.g., Straus, 1978) i s the r e l a t i v e lack of attention given by theorists to individual differences among assaultive couples that stem from factors associated with, for example, family and work environments (see, e.g., Dutton, in press). The brief analysis presented above suggests that the blaming process i s probably also influenced by individual differences that exist among the values held by battered women. In fact, such differences may be an i n f l u e n t i a l factor in whether or not a battered women ever leaves her abusive partner. Women whose values derive from a b e l i e f that a husband has the right to control his wife, and that a wife i s a man's possession are probably less l i k e l y to leave their relationships than 1 16 others who view marriage as a partnership between equals. The fact that important differences may exist between abused women in shelters and those who have not l e f t their partners i s an issue that w i l l be discussed further below. A t h i r d point i s that one needs to be aware of a l l the various sources of self-blame a negative event may permit. At least for battered women, the type of blame taken (e.g., causing versus t o l e r a t i n g the abuse) may be found to be a more important determinant of a person's reaction than i s the degree of blame taken. A fourth issue concerns the current finding that d i s t i n c t i o n s between characterological and behavioral self-blame become blurred when one s h i f t s from acute to chronic events. Further, within characterological a t t r i b u t i o n s , d i s p o s i t i o n a l factors can be evaluated as posi t i v e or negative. More attention should be given to t r a i t evaluation in a t t r i b u t i o n research, and possible correlates with adjustment. Changes over time. The fact that a t t r i b u t i o n s for an event change with the passage of time has been documented elsewhere, and further support for t h i s proposition was evidenced in comments made by the battered women interviewed here. What remains unclear i s whether such changes follow any predictable pattern, for example from i n i t i a l self-blame to partner-blame and eventually to a more s i t u a t i o n a l or i n t e r a c t i o n a l perspective. The relationship over time between blame and a f f e c t i v e or adjustment measures i s also one which requires further research. The role of a f f e c t . In the "real world," people generally 1 17 acknowledge that one's behavior i s often in large part determined by emotional state. Few would probably disagree that the depression and despair of an abused woman might impede her a b i l i t y to cope successfully. However, research designed to explore the rel a t i o n between causal at t r i b u t i o n s and emotional reactions has often been based in the laboratory, and such investigations have precluded the study of intense emotional experience. The results of the current research should be replicated before any firm conclusions can be drawn about the relationship between affect and a t t r i b u t i o n s . However, the present findings provide support for the argument that to understand the role of affect in people's reactions to negative events, and i t s i n t e r r e l a t i o n with other variables, a f f e c t should also be explored among individuals who have suffered real misfortune rather than to generalize from laboratory experiments alone. Domestic Violence There are two general areas within which to explore the implications of the current study for research on and counselling for victims of domestic violence. The f i r s t addresses the points of s i m i l a r i t y between the women interviewed here and descriptions in the l i t e r a t u r e of abused women. The second concerns differences that may exist between the present sample of battered women and others sharing the same fate, p a r t i c u l a r l y those women who have not l e f t their abusive relationships. Before proceeding, however, i t should be emphasized that due to the paucity of systematic research with 118 battered women, i t seems premature to advocate at this time the application of any one finding from the present study to counseling strategies for abused women. S i m i l a r i t i e s between current data and previous data on  battered women. In many respects, the information e l i c i t e d from the 50 respondents in thi s study corroborated descriptions in the l i t e r a t u r e of battered women and their spouses. With regard to violence in their families of o r i g i n , as reported by the women interviewed, 58% of the abusive partners and 23% of the women came from families characterized by violence. These s t a t i s t i c s c l o s e l y replicate those reported in other studies of violent families. While family income was not d i r e c t l y assessed here, levels of education attained by both partners ranged from high school through graduate t r a i n i n g , and attests to the fact that domestic violence i s not unique to any one so c i a l economic group of individuals. Although alcohol and drugs were reported by a number of subjects to play a major role in their partners' abusive tendencies, their use cannot be assumed to explain incidents of domestic violence as the women in th i s sample were as often as not abused when their partners were sober. Subjects did not give the impression that they benefitted from, or enjoyed the abuse. Their reasons for remaining with their partners focused on concerns for their children, their partners' promises to change, and their lack of alternatives or places to go. Most women suffered from l i t t l e support from families and friends, and their men generally discouraged them from communicating with or spending time with other people. Most men 119 were portrayed as possessive and jealous, and were often described as having "macho" mentalities. A l l of the above i s congruent with descriptions of battered women and their partners in the existing l i t e r a t u r e on domestic violence. There were several dimensions on which the women interviewed here appeared to deviate from the " c l a s s i c p r o f i l e " of a battered woman. While both partners in a violent rel a t i o n s h i p have been described as adherents of t r a d i t i o n a l sex-role stereotypes, many women in this sample appeared to shun the conventional roles expected of them. In addition, they did not see the abuse as normal or j u s t i f i e d . While most women admitted that they generally f e l t helpless within their relationships, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to assess the v e r i d i c a l i t y of the learned helplessness phenomenon as i t applies to t h i s sample, since a l l of them eventually managed to take action and leave. Self-blame has often been c i t e d as a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of battered women. What i s not clear from the l i t e r a t u r e i s whether the battered women who have been interviewed sense that they may contribute in some way to their v i c t i m i z a t i o n , but do not feel morally at f a u l t . Unfortunately, the notion that women may perceive a contingency between aspects of themselves and their abusers' actions i s probably a controversial point, and may seem counterproductive to those who are attempting to aid the cause of battered women. H i s t o r i c a l l y , wife-abuse was assumed by many to be the fault of the woman either because she was thought to be masochistic or because she was believed to have provoked the abuser (e.g.,Davidson, 1977; Martin, 1978). Researchers and 120 p r a c t i t i o n e r s in the area of domestic violence are therefore concerned that victims of abuse, as well as the general public, do not assume through ignorance of the problem that the abuse i s always the woman's f a u l t . Women have no doubt been discouraged from taking the position that they in some way contributed to their abuse. The current findings do suggest, however, that some women may be able to ide n t i f y a po s i t i v e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c within themselves which they perceive as in part responsible for, or as providing the occasion for, their partners' abuse. The a b i l i t y to perceive t h i s r elationship appears to f a c i l i t a t e coping, in that i t fosters a sense of control and p r e d i c t a b i l i t y . More attention should be paid by researchers and pr a c t i t i o n e r s a l i k e to the variety of ways in which women can take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for their v i c t i m i z a t i o n . It may do a disservice to some women to discourage t h i s perspective i f i t does in fact serve a po s i t i v e function. A related finding from t h i s research that may prove to be useful to counselors of victims i s the d i s t i n c t i o n made between being the cause of versus the occasion for abuse. In fact, t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n may prove to be p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant to victims of rape. When rape victims say, "It's my f a u l t , " i t seems l i k e l y that they are not blaming themselves for their assailant's actions, but rather they are blaming themselves for not having done more -to avoid being the occasion for crime. The question, "Why me?" r e f l e c t s the victims' e f f o r t s to understand why they were an occasion for an action that was caused by someone else. 121 Such an interpretation could c l a r i f y the tendency toward s e l f -blame in rape victims, and provide a more focused response for counselors of these individuals. The issue becomes more complex with battered women, in that they are often persuaded by their partners' assertions that were i t not for t h e i r personal shortcomings, there would be no violence. The statement, "It's my f a u l t , " therefore seems to carry with i t a greater variety of meanings for victims of wife assault than i t does for victims of rape. The knowledge that her partner had abused other women, or had "a violent personality" would be l i k e l y to comfort to,woman who blamed herself for her abuse, more so perhaps than would t e l l i n g a rape vi c t i m that her assailant had a history of rape offenses. To the extent that a battered woman i s inclined to find f a u l t with he r s e l f , she would be comforted by any information that suggested that the cause of her partner's violence resided in him. F i n a l l y , one issue that has emerged in thi s research that has received l i t t l e , i f any, attention in the l i t e r a t u r e on domestic violence i s whether blaming one's partner i s an adaptive strategy. There are too few data from t h i s study to draw any firm conclusions in thi s regard. The data do suggest, however, that blaming one's partner may not have adaptive consequences, in that t h i s tendency i s associated with returning to an abusive s i t u a t i o n and i s not related to a sense of well-being on the woman's part. The issue i s a complex one. On the one hand, i t i s suggested that an abused woman should search for the cause of the violence not within herself, but within her 1 2 2 partner; on the other hand, i t i s suggested that she may benefit psychologically i f she does not blame him. Since a number of studies have demonstrated the negative consequences that may be associated with blaming another, strategies should perhaps be developed by counselors of battered women to deal e f f e c t i v e l y with t h i s c o n f l i c t . Battered women: Those who have l e f t versus those who have  not. The responses and comments of the women interviewed here made i t clear that their perceptions of and reactions to their s i t u a t i o n had not remained stable over the course of their relationships. A number of women stated that had they been interviewed before they l e f t t heir partners, th e i r responses would have been quite d i f f e r e n t from those they gave after having l e f t . One implication to be drawn from these comments i s that important differences may exist between battered women who have l e f t and those who have not. This i s an important consideration with regard to the g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y of results from t h i s sample of women to other victims of domestic violence. Several dimensions on which these groups of women might d i f f e r are worth noting. The f i r s t concerns the range and types of responses on the major variables of interest in thi s study: a f f e c t , a t t r i b u t i o n s of blame, and coping. It i s conceivable that battered women who have not l e f t their partners would be, for example, more depressed than those who had managed to extricate themselves from th e i r s i t u a t i o n s . Further, the extent to which they blamed their partners and themselves might be expected to d i f f e r . For instance, women who have not l e f t may 123 blame themselves more than women who have l e f t . F i n a l l y , i f coping were to be measured among women s t i l l in their relationships, the c r i t e r i a used to assess how e f f e c t i v e l y they were dealing with their s i t u a t i o n would probably d i f f e r in a number of respects from t h e - c r i t e r i a used in t h i s study. It has been reported (Fine, 1979) that battered women tend to hold an exaggerated estimate of the commonness of domestic violence. This tendency was not in evidence among the women interviewed here, which may indicate that women who get out of their relationships do not view their abuse as normal. In addition, perceptions of the violence as avoidable might characterize women in abusive relationships more so than i t does women who have l e f t . And f i n a l l y , the same personal dispositions that women who have l e f t tend to evaluate p o s i t i v e l y , may be seen in a more negative l i g h t by those women who stay. For instance, women in abusive relationships who f e e l that they are outspoken by nature may f e e l that t h i s contributes to the discord in their relationships, and may consequently f e e l g u i l t y and stay. The possible differences between abused women who stay and those who leave their r e l a t i o n s h i p raise two important issues. The f i r s t concerns issues of g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y , p a r t i c u l a r l y for those interested in the interpersonal dynamics of domestic violence. It would seem important to recognize that the ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s of those women studied, i f measured after they have l e f t , may d i f f e r in important ways from other battered women. Second, attempts should be made to explore whether these 124 differences r e f l e c t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which do in fact change with time. If t h i s were the case, t h i s knowledge could be u t i l i z e d by counselors of battered women s t i l l involved with their partners, to foster a change of perspective or to offer a l t e r n a t i v e ways of perceiving themselves, their partners, and the abusive rela t i o n s h i p . ./••" 1 25 Footnotes 1. Before the data c o l l e c t i o n for t h i s research was completed, an additional goal of the thesis included follow-up interviews with subjects one month after the i n i t i a l interview. The major objective of t h i s follow-up was to obtain longitudinal data that would permit an analysis of the causal rel a t i o n s h i p between att r i b u t i o n s and a f f e c t , as well as an assessment of temporal s h i f t s in a t t r i b u t i o n s . However for reasons that in retrospect seemed very sensible, most women who did not return to their partners preferred not to have their whereabouts known, and those who returned wished no further contact with the interviewer. It was only with the help of the shelter counselors that i t was possible to fin d out, for most women, whether or not they had returned to their previous situations. 2. An attempt was made to assess the r e l i a b i l i t y of these interpretations of subjects' responses to the contingency question. A blind rater evaluated the comments of 23 of the 28 subjects who indicated by scoring three or above on a 5-point scale that there was some relat i o n s h i p between themselves and their partner's abuse. (Five of the 28 subjects did not provide additional comments.) The rater was asked to indicate for each response whether i t seemed to r e f l e c t a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c about which the woman f e l t p o s i t i v e , negative, or whether the response 1 26 was ambiguous. In addition, the rater was asked whether the responses could be categorized, and i f so, how the general categories could be labeled. The co r r e l a t i o n between the rater's assessments and the interviewer's assessments was . 8 8 . Further, the rater indicated two major categories of responses: independence, and "direct in expression of feelings and thoughts." 1 27 Reference Notes 1. Gotlib,I.H. & Olson,J.M. Depression, psychopathology, and se l f - s e r v i n g a t t r i b u t i o n s for success and f a i l u r e . Unpublished manuscript, U. of Western Ontario, 1982. 2. Wortman, C.B. Reactions to uncontrollable outcomes. Paper presented at the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, Stanford, Ca., October, 1980. 3. 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San Diego: Educational and Industrial Testing Service, 1965. APPENDIX A Interview Schedule Interview Schedule 138 Name _____ Age E t h n i c i t y Education M a r i t a l Status Age married How long # chi l d r e n Ages Education Employment Abuser's r e l a t i o n s h i p ; Age Abuser's education Employment When did you leave home? How long at shelter? Why did you leave? Have you l e f t before? (If so, why did you go back?) When was the l a s t time you were abused? Length of abuse: less than 1 yr 1 to 5 yrs 6 to 10 yrs over 10 yrs # of abusive incidents: less than 5 5 to 10 over 10 Frequency of abuse: less than 1/month one/month + When abuse began: Before marriage F i r s t year of r e l a t i o n s h i p After f i r s t year Type of abuse: throwing things pushing, shoving slapping kicking, h i t t i n g with f i s t h i t with object threatened with weapon used weapon Extent of abuse (most severe i n j u r y ) : h o s p i t a l i z a t i o n required severe (broken bones) - required MD minor but sought MD no medical help required Which beating did you f e e l was the worst? When did i t happen? Interview schedule (continued) 139 To what extent could you ta l k about the violence/your r e l a t i o n s h i p with your partner? 1 2 3 4 5 not at completely a l l With other people? 1 2 3 4 5 Did your partner t a l k with other people about i t ? Did your partner encourage/discourage you to have friends? What were your sources of emotional support during t h i s relationship? To what extent do you think the abuse was normal, expected? 1 2 3 4 5 not at a l l normal normal Was there violence i n your family when growing up? i n your partner's ? To what extent did you f i g h t back? 1 2 3 4 5 never a l l the time Were you v i o l e n t f i r s t ? 1 2 3 4 5 never a l l the time Have you ever sought help from a therapist/counselor? To what extent were alcohol and drugs a contributing factor to the abuse? 1 2 3 4 5 never a l l the time To what extent have you made up your mind whether to stay away or to go back? 1 2 3 4 5 not at a l l sure sure Interview schedule (continued) j^g How much to you blame your partner for the violence? 1 2 3 4 5 not at a l l completely How much do you blame yourself? 1 2 3 4 5 How much do you blame the rest of the world (e.g., society, partner's upbringing, your upbringing) for your being abused? 1 2 3 4 5 How much do you blame yourself for any s p e c i f i c instances of violence that you can r e c a l l ? To what extent do you think your partner was v i o l e n t because of something about you, some p a r t i c u l a r t r a i t that you have or ways i n which you acted? (e.g., too submissive, outspoken, independent) 1 2 3 4 5 After the f i r s t v i o l e n t episode, how much did you blame yourself? 1 2 3 4 5 To what extent did you f e e l helpless i n your situation? 1 2 3 4 5 To what extent did feeli n g s of g u i l t keep you from leaving (or send you back)? 1 2 3 4 5 How j u s t i f i e d do you think your partner was i n beating you? 1 2 3 4 5 What do you think i t was about your partner that caused him to abuse you? To what extent do you think the violence could have been avoided? (because you changed, or your partner did, or your circumstances were d i f f e r e n t ) 1 2 3 4 5 not at could have been a l l avoided Interview schedule (continued) 141 How much influence/control do you f e e l you have over what happens to you i n the future (do you f e e l competent, can stand on your own feet)? 1 2 3 4 5 none What do you think causes battering i n general? How happy are you now (not at t h i s moment, but at t h i s stage of your l i f e ) ? 1 2 3 4 5 not at a l l happy Considering the best and worst things that could happen to you i n your l i f e t i m e , where does your present s i t u a t i o n f i t into the scale? 1 2 3 4 5 worst What do you plan to do now? APPENDIX B Measures of Affect 143 Beck. Depression Inventory (Short Form) A. (Sadness) 3 I am so sad o r unhappy t h a t I can't stand i t . 2 I am blue o r sad a l l the time and I can't snap out o f i t . 1 I f e e l sad o r blue. 0 I do not f e e l sad. B. (Pessimism) 3 I f e e l t h a t the f u t u r e i s hopeless and t h a t t h i n g s cannot improve. 2 I f e e l I have nothing t o look forward t o . 1 I f e e l discouraged about the f u t u r e . 0 I am not p a r t i c u l a r l y p e s s i m i s t i c o r discouraged about the f u t u r e . C. (Sense o f f a i l u r e ) 3 I f e e l I am a complete f a i l u r e as a person (parent, w i f e , husband) 2 As I look back on my l i f e , a l l I can see i s a l o t o f f a i l u r e s . 1 I f e e l I have f a i l e d more than the average person. 0 I do not f e e l l i k e a f a i l u r e . D. ( D i s s a t i s f a c t i o n ) 3 I am d i s s a t i s f i e d w i t h e v e r y t h i n g . 2 I don't get any s a t i s f a c t i o n out o f anything anymore. 1 I don't enjoy t h i n g s the way I used t o . 0 I am not p a r t i c u l a r l y d i s s a t i s f i e d . E. ( G u i l t ) 3 I f e e l as though I am very bad o r w o r t h l e s s . 2 I f e e l q u i t e g u i l t y . 1 I f e e l bad o r unworthy a good'part o f the time. 0 I don't f e e l p a r t i c u l a r l y g u i l t y . F. ( S e l f - d i s l i k e ) 3 I hate myself. 2 I am d i s g u s t e d w i t h myself. 1 I am d i s a p p o i n t e d i n myself. 0 I don't f e e l d i s a p p o i n t e d i n myself. G. (Self-harm) 3 I would k i l l myself i f I had the chance. 2 I have d e f i n i t e p l ans about committing s u i c i d e . 1 I f e e l I would be b e t t e r o f f dead. 0 I don't have any thoughts o f harming myself. (Continued . . .) Beck Depression Inventory (continued) H. (Social withdrawal) 3 I have l o s t a l l o f my i n t e r e s t i n other people and don't care about them a t a l l . 2 I have l o s t most of my i n t e r e s t i n other people and have l i t t l e f e e l i n g * for them. 1 I am l e s s i n t e r e s t e d i n other people than I used to be. 0 I have not l o s t i n t e r e s t i n other people. I. (Indecisiveness) 3 I can't make any decisions a t a l l anymore. 2 I have great d i f f i c u l t y i n making decisions. 1 I t r y to put o f f making decisions. 0 I make decisions about as w e l l as ever. J . (Self-image change) 3 I f e e l that I am ugly or repulsive-looking. 2 I f e e l that there are permanent changes i n my appearance and they make me look o l d or unattractive. 1 I am worried that I am looking o l d or unattractive. 0 I don't f e e l that I look any worse than I used to. K. (Work d i f f i c u l t y ) 3 I can't do any work at a l l . 2 I have to push myself very hard to do anything. 1 I t takes extra e f f o r t to get sta r t e d a t doing something. 0 I can work about as w e l l as before. L. ( F a t i g a b i l i t y ) 3 I get too t i r e d to do anything. 2 I get t i r e d from doing anything. 1 I get t i r e d more e a s i l y than I used to. 0 I don't get any more t i r e d than usual. M. (Anorexia) 3 I have no appetite a t a l l anymore. 2 My appetite i s much worse now. 1 My appetite i s not as good as i t used to be. 0 My appetite i s no worse than usual. 145 Mood Inventory Each pair of words describes a feeling and its opposite (or close to i t ) . Place a mark through the line in the place that best describes how you feel right now. (pleasure) (arousal) (dominance) (pleasure) (arousal) (dominance) (pleasure) (arousal) (dominance) (pleasure) (arousal) (dominance) (pleasure) happy aggressive stimulated not hostile controlling angry annoyed at ease calm nervous influenced anxious satisfied depressed frenzied joyful in control sad melancholic relaxed dull not calm awed tranquil hopeful unhappy nonaggressive relaxed hostile controlled not angry pleased tense excited not nervous influential nonanxious dissatisfied elated sluggish downhearted cared for excited contented not relaxed jittery calm important not tranquil despairing (Continued . . .) 146 Mood Inventory (continued) (arousal) wide awake sleepy (dominance) dominant submissive (pleasure) bored relaxed (arousal) unaccused aroused (dominance) guided autonomous Affect Frequency Checklist How many times in the last week have you had these feelings? Never Rarely Sometimes Often Always anxious & worried calm tense & agitated furious helpless angry frustrated afraid sad depressed happy guilty optimistic APPENDIX C Measure of Coping 149 Measure o f Coping 1. D i s o r i e n t e d Does not want t o face the r e a l i t y o f the s i t u a t i o n May not t a l k a t a l l o r may t a l k about the s i t u a t i o n but without much coherence 2. Expects the s i t u a t i o n t o change m i r a c u l o u s l y Expects counselors o r other s t o take care o f the s i t u a t i o n and her 3. Reluctant t o do t h i n g s f o r s e l f Not a b l e t o l i s t needs, p r i o r i t i e s Suggestions made t o her are dismissed too r e a d i l y as impossible 4. Beginning t o r e a l i z e i t i s up t o her t o a c t (but may be scared o f r e s p o n s i b i l i t y ) 5. S t a r t i n g t o be motivated R e a l i z e s she has o p t i o n s , and t h a t she doesn't have t o l e t the s i t u a t i o n take c o n t r o l o f her 6 . S t a r t s t o pursue s p e c i f i c i d e a s — a t l e a s t i n conversation w i t h counselors Can p r i o r i t i z e needs Has a c l e a r e r i d e a o f what she wants (e.g., whether t o go back o r not) Sets g o a l s , but may be u n r e a l i s t i c a t t h i s p o i n t 7. Pursues courses o f a c t i o n but e a s i l y f r u s t r a t e d and may gi v e up i f not succeeding immediately (e.g., c o u n s e l i n g s e s s i o n w i t h p a r t n e r d i d not go w e l l ; can't f i n d housing) 8. A c t i v e l y pursues s p e c i f i c courses o f a c t i o n and s t i c k s t o them (e.g., c o u n s e l i n g , temporary r e s t r a i n i n g o r d e r , d i v o r c e , job) Goals more r e a l i s t i c 9 . Has made s p e c i f i c p l ans and f e e l s c l e a r , comfortable w i t h f u t u r e Knows l i m i t s o f what can and cannot be accomplished APPENDIX D Case Histories 151 Case History #1: Diana H. Diana H. was 26 years old and had been l i v i n g with her partner, Sam, for about one year. She had a six-month old infant with her in the shelter at the time of the interview. Sam was 38, in school fu l l - t i m e and was just short of completing requirements for a B.A. degree. He sold insurance part-time. Diana had completed her B.A. and had some teacher's t r a i n i n g . The couple met at a Christian singles club and started l i v i n g together shortly thereafter. There was no history of violence in Diana's family, while Sam, his s i b l i n g s and his mother were a l l abused by his father. In their year together Diana recalled about 10 incidents of physical abuse on Sam's part, although he abused her verbally on a day-to-day basis. The focus of thi s abuse were Sam's repeated accusations that Diana could do nothing right; everything that went wrong was her problem; he did not l i k e to h i t her but i f she wouldn't make so many mistakes he wouldn't have to reprimand her. (As he said, according to Diana, "How do you survive making so many mistakes?") She acknowledged that she had a problem with low self-esteem, and he contributed to i t . He lectured her constantly and often pulled her hair or jabbed her v i o l e n t l y to get her attention. She had been kicked, slapped, bruised, and pushed to the floor when pregnant. Sam also became increasingly more aggressive after the b i r t h of their c h i l d . Diana f e l t that. Sam was s e l f - s a t i s f i e d with his aggressive behavior. Alcohol was not a factor in his abusive tendencies and in fact seemed to make him more mellow than usual. She loved 152 him, but was a f r a i d of him, and he caused her more fear by threatening to take away the c h i l d and cause her more serious harm i f she continued to displease him. She did not consider herself to be "battered", had never l e f t before, and acknowledged that her situation sounded worse in the t e l l i n g of i t than she had i n i t i a l l y perceived i t to be. Sam had f i n a l l y persuaded Diana to go to counselling for "her problems", and i t was the counselor who urged her to leave her partner as quickly as possible. With regard to interview questions, she perceived no contingency between aspects of herself and the abuse, rated her s i t u a t i o n as the worst that could happen to her, and was moderately depressed on the BDI. Although she admitted that she would be crazy to return to Sam, and said she planned not to, she went back home after spending 12 days in the shelter. Case History #2; Sharon L. Sharon L. l e f t her husband and home and tr a v e l l e d 2,000 miles to come to the shelter; she had a brother l i v i n g in the area and f e l t that had she stayed in her home town her husband would have found her. She was 29 years old, her husband Henry was 27, and both had two years of college. He was an unemployed musician, they had been together for three years and had one c h i l d . There was no violence in her family of o r i g i n , but Henry's father had abused his mother. Sharon had l e f t before but had been talked into going back; she had also f e l t constrained at the time because she was pregnant. She estimated that her husband was violent about three to four times per month, that alcohol was often a contributing factor, and that his constant 153 mental and verbal abuse were often far worse than the physical violence. She had been h i t , kicked, pushed down s t a i r s , and once Henry had threatened to throw her out of a window. On one occasion while she sat with her c h i l d in her lap, her husband pointed a gun at her and repeatedly pulled the t r i g g e r . Although Henry apologized to her for the abuse, he also argued that she deserved i t . He made i t d i f f i c u l t for her to have contact with other people, and Sharon often stayed in the house for days at a time waiting for bruises to go away. She said that she used to blame herself a lot although she did not know what she was doing wrong, but Henry had convinced her that their problems were due to her inadequacies. In Sharon's view, Henry wanted a wife who was " t o t a l l y submissive and old-fashioned," and she f e l t his violence stemmed from the need to prove himself a man. Sharon was moderately depressed on the BDI, f e l t that t h i s was the worst sit u a t i o n that could happen to her, and also believed there may have been some contingency between aspects of herself and her husband's abuse. She stayed in the shelter for one month, and then moved into an apartment with her c h i l d . 

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