Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 597–604 | Cite as

Factors that Influence Life Satisfaction Among Battered Women in Shelters: Those Who Stay Versus Those Who Leave

  • Anat Ben-PoratEmail author
  • Haya Itzhaky
Original article


The study focused on differences between women who left shelters for battered women and returned to their partners, versus those who stayed in the shelter for over 3 months. The study was conducted in battered women’s shelters in Israel, and examined the contribution of women’s internal resources (self-esteem and empowerment) to their life satisfaction, as well as the contribution of integration (participation and commitment) in the shelter at the time of their arrival to their satisfaction with their life. Findings indicate that, among the group of women who stayed in the shelter, personal resources as well as participation and commitment contributed to their life satisfaction. Among the group of women who left the shelter, only commitment contributed to life satisfaction.


Domestic violence Battered women’s shelter Life satisfaction Self-esteem Participation Commitment 


  1. Baker, P. L. (1997). And I went back: Battered women’s negotiations of choice. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 26, 55–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Berk, R. A., Newton, P. L., & Berk, S. F. (1986). What a difference a day makes: An empirical study of the impact of shelters for battered women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 48, 481–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyd, A. S. (1997). The relationship between the level of personal empowerment and quality of life among psychosocial clubhouse members and consumer operated drop in center participation. Dissertation Abstract International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences, 58(3-A), 1089.Google Scholar
  4. Burman, S. (2003). Battered women: Stages of change and other treatment models that instigate and sustain leaving. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention, 3(1), 83–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Busch, N. B., & Valentine, D. (2000). Empowerment practice: A focus on battered women. Affilia, 15, 82–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Campbell, A. (1976). Subjective measures of well being. American Psychologist, 31, 117–124.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Campbell, R., Sullivan, C. M., & Davidson II, W. S. (1995). Women who use domestic violence shelters, change in depression over time. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 19, 237–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Checkway, B. (1995). Six strategies of community change. Community Development Journal, 31, 2–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cohen, A. (1999). The relation between commitment forms and work outcomes: Jewish and Arab culture. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 54, 371–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cook, J., & Wall, Y. (1980). New work attitude measures of trust, organizational commitment and personal need non fulfillment. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 53, 39–52.Google Scholar
  11. Diener, E., & Diener, M. (1995). Cross cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 653–666.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Diener, E., Shu, E., Lucas, R., & Smith, H. (1999). Subjective well being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125, 276–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dutton, M. A. (1992). Empowering and healing the battered women: A model for assessment and intervention. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  14. Eisikovits, Z., Buchbinder, E., & Mor, M. (1998). “What it was won’t be anymore”: reaching the turning point in coping with intimate violence. Affilia, 13, 411–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eisikovits, Z., Winstok, Z., & Fishman, G. (2004). The first Israeli national survey on domestic violence. Violence Against Women, 10, 729–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fisher, A. (1999). The relationship between empowerment among adolescents and their involvement in community life. Unpublished master’s thesis, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  17. Gondolf, E. W., & Fisher, E. R. (1988). Battered women as survivors: An alternative to treating learned helplessness. Lexington, MA: Lextington Books.Google Scholar
  18. Herbert, T. B., Silver, R. C., & Ellard, J. H. (1991). Coping with an abusive relationship. Part I: How and why do women stay? Journal of Marriage and the Family, 55, 311–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hilbert, J. C., Kolia, R., & VanLeeuwen, D. (1997). Abused women in New Mexican shelter. Affilia, 12, 391–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hodtov, B. (2001). The relationship between the sense of empowerment and the level of participation of parent of infants with special needs. Unpublished Master’s thesis, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  21. Hong, L. K., & Guff, R. W. (1997). Relative importance of spouses, children and friend in the life satisfaction of retirement community residents. Journal of Clinical Geropsychology, 3, 275–282.Google Scholar
  22. Itzhaky, H., & Schwartz, H. (1998). Empowering the disabled: a multidimensional approach. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 21, 301–310.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Itzhaky, H., & York, A. S. (1994). Different types of client participation and the effects on community social work intervention. Journal of Social Work Research, 19, 85–98.Google Scholar
  24. Johnson, I. M. (1992). Economic, situational and psychological correlates of the decision making process of battered women. Families in Society, 73(3), 168–176.Google Scholar
  25. Kearney, P., Plax, T. G., & Lentz, P. S. (1985). Participation in community organizations and socioeconomic status as determinants of senior’s life satisfaction. Activities Adaptation and Aging, 6(4), 31–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kiesler, C. A. (1971). The psychology of commitment. New York: Academic.Google Scholar
  27. Koren, P. E., De Chillo, N., & Friesen, B. (1992). Measuring empowerment in families. Rehabilitation Psychology, 37, 305–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Krishnan, S. P., Hilbert, J. C., McNeil, K., & Newman, I. (2004). From respite to transition: Women's use of domestic violence shelters in rural New Mexico. Journal of Family Violence, 19, 165–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lesser, B. (1990). Attachment and situational factors influencing battered women's return to their mates following a shelter program. In K. Pottharst (Ed.) Research exploration in adult attachment (pp. 81–128). New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  30. Lipschitz-Elhawi, R. (1999). The relationship between sense of empowerment and Adjustment of adolescent in a boarding school. Unpublished master’s thesis, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  31. Marcos, Y., & Doron, N. (1988). Young families in Israel. Ramat Gan, Israel: Bar Ilan University Press.Google Scholar
  32. McNamara, J. R., Ertl, M. A., Marsh, S., & Walker, S. (1997). Short term response to counseling and case management intervention in a domestic violence shelter. Psychological Report, 81, 1243–1251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nelson, G., Wiltshire, C., Hall, G. B., & Peirson, L. (1995). Psychiatric consumer survivor’s quality of life: Quantitative and qualitative perspectives. Journal of Community Psychology, 23, 216–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Parkerson, G. R., Broadhead, W. E., & Tse, C. J. (1990). The health status and life satisfaction of first year medical students. Academic Medicine, 65, 586–588.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Peled, E., Eisikovits, Z., Enosh, G., & Winstock, Z. (2000). Choice and empowerment for battered women who stay: Towards constructivist model. Social Work, 45, 9–25.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Racino, J. A., & Heunann, J. E. (1992). Independent living and community life: Building coalitions among elders people with disabilities and our allies. Generations, 16, 43–47.Google Scholar
  37. Register, E. (1993). Feminism and recovering from battering: Working with the individual women. In M. Hansen, & M. Harway (Eds.) Battering and family therapy: Feminist perspective (pp. 93–105). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  38. Revach, S. (2000). The effects of training women volunteers in the trade union on empowerment and activities in the community. Unpublished master’s thesis, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel (Hebrew).Google Scholar
  39. Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and adolescent self image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Rosenfield, S., & Neese, T. S. (1993). Elements of psychological clubhouse program associated with satisfying quality of life. Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 44, 76–78.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (1992). Community organizing and development (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  42. Schillinger, E. (1988). Dependency, control and isolation: Battered women and the welfare system. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 16, 469–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Srinivasan, M., & Davis, L. V. (1991). A shelter: An organization like any other? Affilia, 6, 38–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Stringfellow, J. W., & Mucari, K. D. (2003). A program of support for consumer participation in systems changes: The West Virginia Leadership Academy. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 14, 142–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Strube, M. T. (1988). The decision to leave an abusive relationship: Empirical evidence and theoretical issue. Psychological Bulletin, 104, 236–250.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Torrey, W. C., Mueser, K. T., McHugo, G. H., & Drake, R. E. (2000). Self esteem as an outcome measure in studies of vocational rehabilitation for adults with severe mental illness. Psychiatric Services, 51, 229–233.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tutty, M. L. (1993). After the shelter. Canadian Social Work Review, 10, 183–201.Google Scholar
  48. Tutty, M. L. (1996). Post shelter services: The efficacy of follow up programs for abused women. Research on Social Work Practice, 6, 425–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tutty, M. L., Weaver, G., & Rothery, M. A. (1999). Resident’s view of the efficacy of shelter services for assault women. Violence Against Women, 5, 898–925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. United Nations Statistical Office (2000). Women who have been physically attacked by an intimate partner. In The World Health Organization Task Force on Violence and Health (Ed.) Rape and sexual assault and violence in the family. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
  51. Wilson, P. A., Moore, S., Rubin, D. S., & Bartels, P. K. (1990). Informal caregivers of the chronically and their social support. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 15, 55–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wood, G. G., & Middelman, R. R. (1992). Groups to empower battered women. Affilia, 7(4), 82–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social WorkBar-Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

Personalised recommendations