Professional Versus Personal Resource Utilization in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

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Abstract

Although many women are affected by intimate partner violence (IPV) across the life span, rates of help seeking for IPV-related concerns are low. The current project examined predictors of personal and professional resource use in a sample of female IPV survivors, with the purpose of identifying engagement strategies for IPV services and resources. The study is notable for is concurrent examination of demographic variables, abuse characteristics, beliefs about cause of violence, beliefs about helpfulness of resources, coping style, and PTSD symptoms as predictors of resource use. Interviews and self-report measures were completed by 372 women recruited from community agencies. The average age was 34.41 years (SD = 8.09), and 66% of the sample was African American, followed by 28% Caucasian, 1.4% Latino, and 1.4% Native American. Results indicated that professional help seeking was significantly related to psychological aggression, age, controllability of cause of violence, engaged coping, helpfulness of resource, and PTSD severity (p < .001), and that personal resource use was related to relationship length, stability of cause of violence, disengaged coping, and helpfulness of resource (p < .001). These findings point to the importance of cognitions and coping style in the decision to seek help for IPV. In particular, beliefs about the helpfulness of potential resources as well as beliefs about the controllability and stability of the violence appear to be important targets for increasing engagement of IPV survivors in available services.

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