Sex Roles

, Volume 13, Issue 9–10, pp 537–547 | Cite as

A comparison between strategies used on prisoners of war and battered wives

  • Mary Romero


Comparisons were made between strategies used on prisoners of war (POWs) and battered wives to determine whether battering tactics are gender specific and thus a result of sexism, or whether battering is a reflection of societal violence. Similarities found between strategies used by captors and batterers were (a) psychological abuse within the context of violence; (b) the use of emotional dependency based on intermittent reinforcement; and (c) isolation from the victim's support system resulting in validation of assailant's beliefs and behavior. Both captors and batterers were successful in destroying the individual's self-identity, as well as eliciting and controlling certain kinds of behavior, when the victim remained isolated from a democratic setting. Differences in the experiences of POWs and battered wives center around the type of a hierarchical structure. In the case of battered wives, a patriarchal family legitimates male domination over women; therefore, the violence occurs within a sexist context.


Reflection Social Psychology Support System Hierarchical Structure Psychological Abuse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Romero
    • 1
  1. 1.Dean's OfficeNew Haven

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