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Coping with Partner Abuse Among Mexican American and Anglo Women: Ethnic and Socioeconomic Influences

NCJ Number
Violence and Victims Volume: 14 Issue: 3 Dated: 1999 Pages: 293-310
Maria E. Fernandez-Esquer; Laura A. McCloskey
Date Published
18 pages
This study examines the influence of ethnic group membership and socioeconomic status on the coping strategies of women victims of partner abuse.
Ninety-three Mexican American and Anglo women recruited from the general community were interviewed after being screened for the presence of partner abuse. Individual coping strategies were coded as internal focus or external focus strategies. Only socioeconomic status significantly predicted internal focus coping beyond the contribution of ethnicity. The study found more commonalities than differences in the ways Mexican American and Anglo women responded to spousal violence. None of the strategies adopted by the women in this study belied total passivity or helplessness, but it is unclear whether they were effective in preventing further abuse, particularly in the long run. The study revealed part of the complexity of social and interpersonal factors inherent in violent marital conflict situations. The psychological determinants of coping were equally complex, the products of overlapping social and economic systems to which women responded in a variety of ways, some of which might eventually lead to their effectively changing their relationships and circumstances. Tables, notes, references