Title page for ETD etd-05092002-131837

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Rhatigan, Deborah Lynn
Author's Email Address drhatiga@vt.edu
URN etd-05092002-131837
Title Effect of Received Social Support on Battered Women's Commitment to their Abusive Relationships
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Axsom, Daniel K. Committee Chair
Clum, George A. Jr. Committee Member
Cooper, Lee D. Committee Member
Johnson, Michael K. Committee Member
Stephens, Robert S. Committee Member
  • social support
  • commitment
  • battered women
  • stay/leave decision
Date of Defense 2002-05-08
Availability unrestricted
This project attempted to understand better the relationship between social support and women’s commitment to an abusive relationship for the purpose of informing social support interventions. This study was not an intervention; instead, it sought to examine the processes linking receipt of helpful forms of social support from naturally occurring sources with women’s commitment and stay/leave decisions. Specifically, it was hypothesized that relationship satisfaction and quality alternatives would mediate the relationship between received social support types (e.g., nondirective support, positive social exchange, tangible assistance, and directive guidance) and battered women’s feelings of commitment. Fifty-one battered women living in domestic violence shelters participated in the present study. Women completed the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS-2), Inventory of Socially Supportive Behaviors (ISSB), and Investment Model Scale (IMS) along with other measures designed for this study. Results showed that battered women who received more resources and services (i.e., tangible assistance) endorsed lesser commitment to their abusive relationships; however, other dimensions of social support such as showing concern, giving advice, and spending time in recreational activities were unrelated to commitment. Further, neither relationship satisfaction nor quality alternatives mediated the relationship between support and commitment; however, relationship satisfaction and quality alternatives demonstrated expected relationships with women’s commitment. Potential design limitations as well as clinical and research implications are discussed.
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