The Social Networks of Women Experiencing Domestic Violence

Abstract

The research literature has demonstrated that battered women living in shelters experience impaired social support. This study examines this phenomenon among battered women living in the community. This study compared a group of pregnant battered women (n=145) and a group of pregnant nonbattered women (n=58) in terms of their structural [e.g., total number of supporters, network members in violent relationships with their partners (an index of homophily or nonhomophily) and functional (e.g., emotional)] social support. Four reasons for impaired support in battered women were proposed and examined, including social isolation, failure to disclose abuse, homophily, and low SES. Only homophily was related to impaired support among battered women. In addition, the relationship between structural and functional support and mental health outcomes (e.g., depression, self-esteem) was examined. Criticism, practical support, homophily, and disclosure were all significant predictors of mental health for battered women. Implications for community-based interventions are discussed in the context of current intervention strategies with battered women.

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Levendosky, A.A., Bogat, G.A., Theran, S.A. et al. The Social Networks of Women Experiencing Domestic Violence. Am J Community Psychol 34, 95–109 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:AJCP.0000040149.58847.10

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  • social support
  • battered women
  • emotional support
  • social networks
  • negative support