Date of Award

12-1984

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Hopkins

Third Advisor

Dr. James Lowe

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine locus of control and feminine role orientation in battered women. It was hypothesized that battered women would have a more "external" locus of control than women who have not been in a battering relationship. It was also hypothesized that battered women would describe themselves as having more characteristics that are traditionally associated as "feminine" in nature and fewer characteristics that are considered "masculine" in nature than women who have not been in a battering relationship. Finally, it was hypothesized that there would be a relationship between locus of control and self-perceived feminine role orientation in the sample studied.

The sample consisted of 42 females who had sought services from two different shelters for battered women in Michigan. The comparison group consisted of 54 females who were enrolled at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Inclusion in the comparison group was determined by the self-reported absence of ever having been involved in a battering relationship. All subjects responded to a brief demographic questionnaire, the Rotter Internal-External Locus of Control Scale, and the Bem Sex-Role Inventory.

Results indicated that battered women who seek assistance from shelters are more likely to believe that the rewards they receive in life are determined by external forces, such as luck, fate, or powerful others, than women who have never been in an abusive relationship. The data further supported the hypotheses that battered women describe themselves as having more characteristics viewed as "feminine" and fewer of the characteristics viewed as "masculine" than women who report they have never been in a battering relationship. The battered women sample displayed a positive and significant relationship between locus of control and self-perceived feminine role orientation.

The results provided empirical support for Ball and Wyman (1977) and Walker (1979), who hypothesized that battered women are victims of over-socialization into the stereotypic feminine role. Having learned all their lives to be passive, dependent, yielding, and submissive, battered women have little experience in being responsible for themselves or in believing they have much control over their lives.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons

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