Research investigating women’s risk assessments for intimate partner violence (IPV) shows that women can predict future violence with relative accuracy. Limited research has investigated factors that are associated with perceived risk and the potential behavioral consequences of victim risk perception. Results from a survey of women in a domestic violence shelter (N = 56) indicated that women perceive lower risk of future violence if the abusive relationship were to end and higher risk of violence if it were to continue. Certain abuse experiences were related to elevated perceptions of personal risk for future violence. Further, perceived personal risk predicted the women’s intention to terminate their relationship upon leaving shelter. Results are discussed as they may inform interventions preventing IPV.
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The term ‘risk assessment’ is currently the term of choice in intimate partner violence research, while other literatures (e.g. health behavior research) use the term ‘risk perception’. The current study suggests that these two terms address the same fundamental concept; a subjective feeling of being at risk for an event, and thus, the terms will be used interchangeably.
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This research was supported by Dickinson College and by (while serving at) the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Data from the study was presented at the 2007 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference in Memphis, TN. The authors would like to thank Joan Jackson for comments on an earlier draft.
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Harding, H.G., Helweg-Larsen, M. Perceived Risk for Future Intimate Partner Violence among Women in a Domestic Violence Shelter. J Fam Viol 24, 75 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-008-9211-6
- Intimate partner violence
- Risk perception
- Relationship decisions
- Domestic violence shelters