Joan Woods

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Chris Koronakos

Second Advisor

Dr. Malcolm Robertson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The purpose of the present thesis is to provide a theoretical framework to deepen understanding of the dynamics which lead to wife battering behavior and to illuminate its original causes and the process maintaining it.

Learning principles explicated by three learning based theories are utilized as premises to explain the process the batterer engages in which produces his violent behavior. Some existing sociological theories of wife abuse and family violence serve as bases for some of the antecedent variables postulated in the model presented. Other cognitive-perceptual and emotional intervening variables are postulated to explain the process of wife battering behavior.

Treatment approaches taken from the spouse abuse literature and supplemented by the writer's suggestions for family therapy are described in a format which may serve as a useful reference for therapists working with marital violence.