The Impact of Different Forms of Psychological Abuse on Battered Women

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Battered women receiving either shelter (n = 30) or nonshelter services (n = 30) from a domestic violence agency were interviewed regarding psychological abuse and its aftermath. Four types of abuse were derived from factor analysis: ridiculing of traits, criticizing behavior, ignoring, and jealous control. Sheltered women experienced ridicule and jealous/control more often than nonsheltered women. For the entire sample, ridiculing of traits was rated as the most severe form. Ignoring was the strongest predictor of low self-esteem. Both psychological abuse and physical abuse contributed independently to depression and low self-esteem. However, fear of being abused was uniquely predicted by psychological abuse. Implications for practice and research are discussed.

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