Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 167–186 | Cite as

Perceptions of control, depressive symptomatology, and self-esteem of women in transition from abusive relationships

  • Tammy A. Orava
  • Peter J. McLeod
  • Donald Sharpe


The relation between women’s histories of experiencing violence and current psychological health were examined. Locus of control, feelings of personal power, depressive symptomatology, self-esteem, and judgments of control over a contingently responsive computer display were investigated in groups of 21 abused women and 18 comparison women. Within the sample of abused women, relationships between severity of abuse and the psychological variables were also examined. The group of abused women had lower beliefs in self-efficacy, were more depressed, and had lower self-esteem than the comparison women. There were no differences found, however, between the two groups in perceptions of control on the computer task. Severity of physical abuse among the abused women was positively correlated with depression scores. Verbal abuse was found to contribute significantly to many of the between-group differences. Empirical evidence of the positive impact of transition house residence on the abused women’s mental health was also presented. The importance of future research into both the differential effects of verbal and physical abuse on women and the role of the transition house in empowering abused women were discussed.

Key Words

spouse abuse control depression self-esteem 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tammy A. Orava
    • 1
  • Peter J. McLeod
    • 1
  • Donald Sharpe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAcadia UniversityWolfvilleCanada

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