College of Psychology Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)

Department

Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Lenore Walker

Second Advisor

Christian DeLucia

Third Advisor

David Shapiro

Keywords

childhood trauma, domestic violence, incarcerated women, intervention, substance abuse, women's issues

Abstract

There is an abundance of literature that examines the comorbidity of domestic violence and trauma as well as domestic violence and alcohol and/or substance abuse in both community and incarcerated samples of women. There is a paucity of research dedicated to discovering if incarcerated women are significantly more likely to have this triad of domestic violence, trauma, and alcohol and/or substance abuse than their community cohorts. The present study examined this under-researched area by analyzing data from 147 women who participated in an extensive, ongoing research project. Women in this sample were from the United States, Russia, Colombia, Spain, Trinidad, and Greece. Results found that the incarcerated women were significantly more likely to suffer more severe domestic violence and were also more likely to abuse substances. No significant differences were found with respect to witnessing domestic violence or childhood sexual abuse, but both groups reported high rates. There were also no significant differences found between the groups on current symptoms of trauma, but both groups obtained scores that hovered just below the clinical cutoff. Although these variables were not statistically significant, they are diagnostic in that they describe experiences related to being a victim of domestic violence and are therefore, areas of potential intervention.

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