Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 277–287 | Cite as

The battered woman scale and gender identities

  • Martin D. Schwartz
  • Christine L. Mattley


This paper describes the development of the Battered Women Scale (BWS), an instrument based on the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (PAQ) designed by Spence, Helmreich and Stapp (1974) and widely used to measure gender role trait ascription. Following arguments in the literature that battered women have particular traits, and the argument here that these traits are caused by experiences in battering relationships, the BWS was shown to successfully differentiate between women in three shelter houses and a sample of similar women who claim no abuse in their past. Further, although African-American women were generally very different in their gender role trait ascriptions than White women, they had patterns of reaction to battering very similar to white women. It is suggested that the BWS can be very useful to measure the value to battered women of shelter house programming on self-concepts.

Key words

battered women gender self-concept self-esteem 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin D. Schwartz
    • 1
  • Christine L. Mattley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyOhio UniversityAthens

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