Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 325–343 | Cite as

Support groups for battered women: Research on their efficacy

  • Leslie M. Tutty
  • Bruce A. Bidgood
  • Michael A. Rothery


An evaluation of 12 support groups for women victims of domestic assault revealed substantial benefits associated with group participation. A total of 76 women responded to an assessment package before, immediately after, and six months following the group. Significant improvements were found in self-esteem, belonging support, locus of control, less traditional attitudes towards marriage and the family, perceived stress, and marital functioning. Unexpectedly, clients currently living with their spouses also reported significant decreases in both physical and nonphysical abuse.

Key words

battered women groups research 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barnett, E., Pittman, C., Ragan, C., and Salus, M. (1980).Family Violence: Intervention Strategies, U S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, J. (1977). Rescuing the battered wife.Hum. Behav. 16243: 6–23.Google Scholar
  3. Bowker, L. (1984). Coping with wife abuse: Personal and social networks. In Roberts, A. (ed.),Battered Women and Their Families: Intervention Strategies and Treatment Programs, Springer, New York, pp. 169–191.Google Scholar
  4. Boyd, M. (ed.) (1985),Handbook for Advocates and Counsellors of Battered Women, London Battered Women's Advocacy Clinic, London, Ontario.Google Scholar
  5. Carlson, B. (1977). Battered women and their assailants.Social Work 22: 455–460.Google Scholar
  6. Claerhout, S., Elder, J., and Janes, C. (1982). Problem solving skills of rural battered women.Am. J. Commun. Psychol. 10: 605–612.Google Scholar
  7. Cohen, S., Kamarck, T., and Mermelstein, R. (1983). A global measure of perceived stress.J. Health Social Behav. 24: 385–396.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, S., Mermelstein, R., Kamarck, T., and Hoberman, H. (1985). Measuring the functional components of social support. In Sarason, I. G., and Sarason, B. R. (eds.),Social Support: Theory, Research and Application, Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Holland.Google Scholar
  9. Coopersmith, S. (1987).Self Esteem Inventories, Consulting Psychologist Press, Palo Alto.Google Scholar
  10. Cristall, L. (1978). A comparison of androgyny and self-actualization in battered women.Diss. Abstr. Int. 39: 5039B-5040B.Google Scholar
  11. Feldman, S. (1983).Battered Women: Psychological Correlates of the Victimization Process, University Microfilm International, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  12. Fleming, J. (1979).Stopping Wife Abuse, Anchor Press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY.Google Scholar
  13. Follingstad, D., Rutledge, L., Berg, B., Hause, E., and Polek, D. (1990). The role of emotional abuse in physically abusive relationships.J. Fam. Viol. 5(2): 107–120.Google Scholar
  14. Giles-Sims, J. (1983).Wife Battering: A Systems Theory Approach, Guilford Press, New York.Google Scholar
  15. Gondolf, E., and Fisher, E. (1988).Battered Women as Survivors: An Alternative to Treating Learned Helplessness, Lexington, Lexington, MA.Google Scholar
  16. Harris, D. (1985). Support groups for battered women. In Sinclair, D. (ed.),Wife Assault: A Training Manual for Counsellors and Advocates, Government of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario.Google Scholar
  17. Hartik, L. (1982).Identification of Personality Characteristics and Self-Concept Factors of Battered Wives, R & E Research Association, Inc., Palo Alto, CA.Google Scholar
  18. Hartman, S. (1983). A self-help group for women in abusive relationships.Social Work Groups 6: 133–134.Google Scholar
  19. Hilberman, E., and Munson, K. (1978). Sixty battered women.Victimology 2(3-4): 1460–470.Google Scholar
  20. Hotaling, G., and Sugarman, D. (1986). An analysis of risk markers in husband to wife violence: The current state of knowledge.Viol. Vict. 1: 101–124.Google Scholar
  21. Hotaling, G., and Sugarman, D. (1990). A risk marker analysis of assaulted wives.J. Fam. Viol 5(1): 1–13.Google Scholar
  22. Hudson, W., and McIntosh, S. (1981). The assessment of spouse abuse: Two quantifiable dimensions.J. Man. Fam. 42: 873–885.Google Scholar
  23. Larsen, D., Attkisson, C., Hargreaves, W., and Nguyen T. (1979). Assessment of client/patient satisfaction: Development of a general scale.Eval. Progr. Plan. 2: 197–207.Google Scholar
  24. Launius, M. H., and Jensen, B. L. (1987). Interpersonal problem solving skills in battered, counseling, and control women.J. Fam. Viol. 2(2): 151–162.Google Scholar
  25. Mardoyan, J. (1985).Personality Characteristics of Battered Women: The Examination of Self-Concept. Locus of Control, and Irrationality, University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  26. Mirels, H. (1971). Dimensions of internal versus external control.J. Consult. Clin. Psychol. 34: 226–228.Google Scholar
  27. Pressman, B. (1984).Family Violence: Origins and Treatment, University of Guelph Office for Educational Practice, Guelph, Ontario.Google Scholar
  28. Pressman, B. (1989a). Treatment of wife-abuse: The case for feminist therapy. In Pressman, B., Cameron, G., Rothery, M. (eds.),Intervening with Assaulted Women: Current Theory, Research and Practice, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, pp. 21–45.Google Scholar
  29. Pressman, B. (1989b). Wife-abused couples: The need for comprehensive theoretical perspectives and integrated treatment models.J. Fem. Fam. Ther. 1(1): 23–43.Google Scholar
  30. Ridington, J. (1977). The transition process: A feminist environment as reconstitutive milieu.Victimology 2(3–4): 563–575.Google Scholar
  31. Rotter, J. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external locus of reinforcement.Psychological Monogr. 80: 1–28.Google Scholar
  32. Roy, M. (Ed.). (1977).Battered Women: A Psychosociological Study of Domestic Behavior, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.Google Scholar
  33. Savage, S. (1987).Group Treatment for Abusive Men and Their Partners, Family Service London, London, Ontario.Google Scholar
  34. Skinner, H., Steinhauer, P., and Santa-Barbara, J. (1983). The Family Assessment Measure. Canad.J. Commun. Ment. Health 2(2): 91–105.Google Scholar
  35. Star, B. (1978). Comparing battered and nonbattered women.Victimology 3(1–2): 32–44.Google Scholar
  36. Stark, E. (1984).The Battering Syndrome: Social Knowledge, Social Therapy and the Abuse of Women, University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  37. Straus, M. A. (1979). Measuring intrafamily conflict and violence: The Conflict Tactics Scale.J. Man. Fam. Feb. 75–88.Google Scholar
  38. Walker, L. (1978). Battered women and learned helplessness.Victimology 2(3–4): 525–534.Google Scholar
  39. Wetzel, L., and Ross, M. (1983). Psychological and social ramifications of battering: Observations leading to a counselling methodology for victims of domestic violence.Person. Guid. J. 61(7): 423–428.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie M. Tutty
    • 1
  • Bruce A. Bidgood
    • 2
  • Michael A. Rothery
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of CalgaryAlbertaCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Social WorkWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of CalgaryAlbertaCanada

Personalised recommendations