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“My Partner Will Change”: Cognitive Distortion in Battered Women in Bolivia


Heim, Eva Maria; Trujillo Tapia, Laura; Quintanilla Gonzáles, Ruth (2018). “My Partner Will Change”: Cognitive Distortion in Battered Women in Bolivia. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(8):1348-1365.

Abstract

This study examines the role of cognitive distortion in women's decision to stay with or leave their violent partner in a sample of Bolivian women. Our study is based on a consistency model: Cognitive distortion is assumed to play an important role in maintaining cognitive consistency under threatening conditions. Eighty victims of partner violence aged 18 to 62 years who sought help in a legal institution were longitudinally assessed three times over a time period of 6 months. Measures were taken from previous studies and culturally adapted through qualitative interviews. Nearly half of the participants decreased their intention to leave the violent partner in the time span of 1 month between the first and second interview. Women who had decreased their leaving intention had concurrently increased their cognitive distortion: They blamed their partner less, were more convinced that they could stop the violence themselves, and were more likely to believe that their partner would change. Cognitive distortion was not observed among women who remained stable in their intention to leave. Women whose intention of leaving decreased and who displayed more cognitive distortion after 1 month were more likely to live with the violent partner 6 months later than women whose leaving intention remained stable or increased. Socio-demographic variables were not related to cognitive distortion or stay-leave decisions in this study. We conclude that cognitive distortion plays a role for women's decision to stay, enhancing their risk of re-victimization.

Abstract

This study examines the role of cognitive distortion in women's decision to stay with or leave their violent partner in a sample of Bolivian women. Our study is based on a consistency model: Cognitive distortion is assumed to play an important role in maintaining cognitive consistency under threatening conditions. Eighty victims of partner violence aged 18 to 62 years who sought help in a legal institution were longitudinally assessed three times over a time period of 6 months. Measures were taken from previous studies and culturally adapted through qualitative interviews. Nearly half of the participants decreased their intention to leave the violent partner in the time span of 1 month between the first and second interview. Women who had decreased their leaving intention had concurrently increased their cognitive distortion: They blamed their partner less, were more convinced that they could stop the violence themselves, and were more likely to believe that their partner would change. Cognitive distortion was not observed among women who remained stable in their intention to leave. Women whose intention of leaving decreased and who displayed more cognitive distortion after 1 month were more likely to live with the violent partner 6 months later than women whose leaving intention remained stable or increased. Socio-demographic variables were not related to cognitive distortion or stay-leave decisions in this study. We conclude that cognitive distortion plays a role for women's decision to stay, enhancing their risk of re-victimization.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 April 2018
Deposited On:10 Jan 2019 12:13
Last Modified:10 Jan 2019 12:14
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0886-2605
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260515615145
PubMed ID:26634629

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