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Role of Family Structure in Battered Women's Threat Appraisal and Reabuse

NCJ Number
Family Violence & Sexual Assualt Bulletin Volume: 18 Issue: 3 Dated: Fall 2002 Pages: 15-21
Date Published
7 pages

This article examines whether battered women who share children with their abuser perceive higher levels of threat than those without children.


The authors explain that although there is a plethora of research concerning domestic violence, no studies have specifically examined the factors that influence battered women’s subjective appraisals of the threat of violence. This study tested whether having children in common with their abuser increased battered women’s sense of threat. Four hundred and six women were recruited from three Baltimore sites. Interviews probed issues of threat assessment, family structure, and level and type of victimization. Findings revealed that women who had children in common with their abusers experienced higher levels of subjective threat appraisal. However, the presence of children did not predict re-victimization. The authors suggest that women who feel more threatened may employ more coping strategies, thus reducing their rates of re-victimization. Tables, references, notes

Date Published: January 1, 2002