Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 169–191 | Cite as

He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not: Attachment and Separation Resolution of Abused Women

  • A. J. Z. Henderson
  • K. Bartholomew
  • D. G. Dutton


Working within an attachment perspective, we examined women's success at emotional separation from abusive partners. The attachment patterns of 63 abused women were assessed shortly after having left their abusive relationships. Six months later, their perceptions, feelings, and behaviors regarding the separation were assessed, to determine an overall level of separation resolution. As expected, attachment patterns associated with a negative self model were overrepresented (88% of the sample had a predominant pattern of fearful or preoccupied attachment). Further, preoccupation was associated with shorter relationship length, more frequent previous separations from the abusive relationship, continuing emotional involvement with partners after separation, and more frequent sexual contact with partners. These findings suggest that preoccupation may be a risk factor in successful separation resolution from abusive relationships.

attachment partner abuse separation resolution battered women 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. J. Z. Henderson
    • 1
  • K. Bartholomew
    • 1
  • D. G. Dutton
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySimon Fraser UniversityBurnaby
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouver

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