Psychological Studies

, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 377–389 | Cite as

Expressions of Women Survivors of Domestic Violence: Idioms of Distress

  • Aishwarya ThakurEmail author
  • Madhavi Rangaswamy
Target Article (with peer commentary)


Domestic violence is prevalent worldwide; however, there are cultural differences in women’s experiences of this phenomenon. This study used the concept of idioms of distress, to understand the impact of domestic violence on women survivors in India. A qualitative method was adopted, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with six women survivors of domestic violence. Using thematic network analysis, one global theme, four organizing themes and 19 basic themes emerged. The idioms of distress identified included, physiological idioms (such as aches and pains, nutritional deficiencies, reproductive), psychological idioms (such as depression, low self-confidence, change in aspirations and ambitions, mistrust, rumination) and behavioral idioms (such as crying, withdrawal, irritability, disturbed sleep). Of all the idioms, only nutritional deficiencies and the reproductive idioms were of concern to the survivors and their marital family. Implications for improving the screening of domestic violence are discussed based on the identified idioms and the responses toward them.


Domestic violence Idioms of distress Screening Violence against women 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared no potential conflict of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCHRIST (Deemed to be University)BangaloreIndia

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