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Contextualizing Depression and Physical Functioning in Battered Women: Adding Vulnerability and Resources to the Analysis

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 18 Issue: 12 Dated: December 2003 Pages: 1411-1431
Date Published
December 2003
21 pages

This investigation examined the relationships between physical, psychological, and sexual abuse along with vulnerability appraisals, positive and negative social relations, and socioeconomic resources on battered women’s depression symptomatology and physical functioning.


Findings suggest that, in addition to paused discrete acts of violence, decreases in appraised vulnerability and negative social relations and increases in positive social relations and socioeconomic resource bases are uniquely additive in their association with lower levels of depression and higher physical functioning. These findings support the premise that a more contextualized assessment of battered women’s resources and vulnerabilities provides a crucial supplement to discerning the characteristics of abuses against her. The findings hold potentially important implications for the development and implementation of intervention with battered women. They also build on and augment research that aims to contextualize women’s coping with intimate partner violence. An analysis of vulnerabilities and resources can provide a differentiated picture of the effects of vulnerabilities and resources with implications for battered women’s physical and mental health. This study sought to distinguish between types of abuse a woman experiences from her partner and contextualizing these types of abuse through the addition of psychological vulnerability to the analysis. An integrative analysis was conducted to assess the importance of these vulnerability and resource factors for depression and physical functioning beyond that which characteristics of the violence can explain. Tables and references

Date Published: December 1, 2003