Determinants of Women's Perceptions of Risk in Battering Relationships

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Two studies have recently identified battered women's perceptions as a substantial predictor of reassault by their batterers. Only a few exploratory studies examine how women make these useful perceptions. We attempted to identify determinants of battered women's perceptions of reassault and safety using the 15-month follow-up of a multisite evaluation of batterer intervention. The regression analyses indicate that the perceived likelihood of reassault increased with men who were divorced or separated, heavy drinkers, and severely abusive in the past. The strongest determinant for perceptions of safety was the perceived likelihood of reassault. Also, the women's professed reasons for their perceptions corresponded to the actual determinants. The women's perceptions appear, therefore, to be grounded in practical circumstances and correspond to establish predictors of reassault. Further research is needed to identify the additional cues, processes, or intuitions that make women's perceptions such a strong predictor of reassault.

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