Personality profile differences among women victims of domestic violence and women who are not victims of domestic violence

Identification of differences in the character of the individual among women who became and did not become victims of domestic violence, the conditions of socio-demographic statistically significant differences in terms of neuroticism, extraversion.

Рубрика Психология
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 25.04.2018
Размер файла 246,3 K

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Personality profile differences among women victims of domestic violence and women who are not victims of domestic violence

Vesna Blazhevska

PhD Psychology, Teaching Assistant,

Katica Stoimenovska

PhD Psychology, Associate Professor, MIT University, Faculty of psychology, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia


Настоящее исследование направлено на определение различий в личности женщин, ставших жертвами домашнего насилия, и женщин, которые не являются жертвами домашнего насилия. Мы опросили 159 замужних женщин. 59 респонденток являлись женщинами, пережившими домашнее насилие и обратившимися в центр социальной работы в одном из городов Македонии. 97 респонденток являлись женщинами, не пережившими домашнее насилие. Измерение профиля личности проводилось с помощью теста «5 + 2». Результаты опроса дают понимание социально-демографических данных и статистически значимых различий в поведении женщин с точки зрения неврозов, экстраверсии, открытости, добросовестности и позитивной валентности.

Ключевые слова: насилие в семье, женщина, жертвы, личностный профиль.


This research was aimed at determining the differences in personality profile among women victims of domestic violence and women who are not victims of domestic violence. Research sample comprises 159 married women who live with their husband. 59 of the respondents were women who reported domestic violence in social work centers in several cities in Macedonia, and 97 women who are not victims of domestic violence. Dimensions of the personality profile were measured with “Big 5 + 2” personality test. The results provides an overview in terms of socio-demographic data of the sample and statistically significant differences in terms of Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Conscientiousness and Positive valence. character domestic violence neuroticism

Keywords: domestic violence, woman, victims, personality profile.

The abuse by an intimate partner is usually perceived as a great betrayal that causes severe emotional pain, even when the physical injury is Insignificant. Most often, victims of domestic violence are degraded by the abuse and suffer from loss of self-confidence and self-respect. A woman victim of domestic violence usually allows the abuse because she is unaware or ignores and denies healthy and constructive ways of interacting with her husband. Often times she is not ready and does not show the ability to set healthy limits and control over her own life. Sometimes the reasons for such behavior can be found in their life history - domestic violence as children, child abuse, etc.

Despite the great efforts to change the situation of domestic violence at the global level, it is difficult to raise awareness about finding constructive ways to tackle conflicts arising in married life. Women victims of domestic violence are emotionally and / or financially dependent on other people. They do not have an objective insight into their own situation and using defense mechanisms, they deny the abuse and their own anger, finding various excuses for the behavior of their violent husband.

Wilson states [1] five main characteristics of women victims of domestic violence:

1. a) The woman accepts responsibility for the occurrence of violence. In reality, she is not responsible for the behavior of the abusive partner, but no matter what she does, he hurts her. Despite this fact, the abusive partner is making a strong effort to convince her that she is guilty of his violent behavior and his accusations go to the point that she begins to believe that she can not do anything right and that he must be violent to punish her.

2. b) Low self esteem. Over time, a woman who is constantly devalued and humiliated by the man she has chosen as her companion, begins to lose her self-esteem. She begins to believe that her abusive partner is right, and that she is completely inadequate in any sphere in her life.

3. c) Guilt. The woman is constantly confronted with feelings of failure and is not allowed to express her own frustration. Besides this, the inability to express herself to her causes anger, that can not or does not know how to express it. These feelings of anger are sometimes denounced by women and often turns them to themselves, causing feelings of guilt - she is to blame for everything. Of course, there are women who sometimes show this anger to other family members (most often children) or to their spouse.

4. d) Feelings of hopelessness and passivity. The subject of constant abuse, beating and accusation in a woman causes certain feelings of hopelessness and passivity. Over time, the woman becomes unable to take action to change the situation in the home, to think about how to deal with the problem or to make a decision. As a result, the woman becomes completely obedient, intensely uses strategies to deal with such as negation, she closely monitors the needs of the violent partner and does not take any action to seek help from the authorities, believing that her partner will feel hurt and betrayed by her.

5. e) Denial and minimization of abuse. Often, a woman “excludes” her own feelings in order to be able to deal with everyday obligations, using negation as a defense mechanism. This negation may contain the following: believes that a partner is a good person, but he has many problems, therefore he is violent; Assumes responsibility for violent behavior or requires responsibility in something else; Believes that her behavior is bad and she deserves to be punished; Believes that she can not survive without him; Believes that marriage and marital obligations are far more important than her well-being.

This research was aimed at identifying differences in the profile of the person between women victims of domestic violence and women who are not victims of domestic violence in order to obtain a data that will be used to create more effective programs that will enable a woman victim of domestic violence to acquire constructive life skills and to learn ways that would help her to deal with domestic violence. Also, the results of this research can help in the individual psychological counseling of women victims of domestic violence in order to have a better insight into their own situation.

Method and materials

In the research are involved 156 participants, of which 59 are women who have currently reported domestic violence in the centers for social work in the period from December 2016 to February 2017. The remaining 97 are women of a control group that was compared with the group of women who reported domestic violence. In order to exclude the existence of domestic violence in the control group, the Woman Abused Screening Tool (WAST) was applied, in order to rejected all cases in which violence was detected. There were taken into account only the cases where there is no violence. All participants are married and live together with their husband.

The questionnaire “Big 5 + 2” [4] was used to estimate the basic dimensions of the personality, which was constructed on the basis of lexical descriptions. The questionnaire is intended to measure 5 basic dimensions of personality and additional 2 dimensions: Neuroticism, Extroversion, Aggressiveness, Openness and Consciousness, and Positive and Negative Valence.


Demographic-social characteristics of the sample

Women victims of domestic violence are aged 21 to 63 years. The average age of this group is 40.2 years. Women who are not victims of domestic violence are aged 18 to 60, with an average age of 37.0 years. Regarding education, women who are not victims of domestic violence, 1% are women who have finished primary education, 34% are women with completed secondary education, 65% are women who have completed higher education. Among women victims of domestic violence, we have the following situation: 6.8% of women are without education, 20.3% are women with completed primary education, 44.1% have completed secondary education and 28.8% have completed high education.

According to the employment status, 27.8% of women who are not victims of domestic violence are unemployed, while 72.2% are employed. Of the women victims of domestic violence, 47.5% are unemployed, and 52.5% are employed.

Results regarding the differences in personality profile dimensions

The following are the results of the t - test (see Table 1.), which was applied in order to establish differences in the personality profile between women who are victims of domestic violence and women from the control group.

Table 1 - Results of the conducted t-test

From the data presented in Table 1, we can conclude that: women victims of domestic violence show a higher level of Neuroticism, Aggression and Negative Valence, and a lower level of Extroversion, Openness and Consciousness, compared to women who are not victims of domestic violence.


The obtained data of this research indicate the existing differences that impose the need for specific work in terms of psychological counseling when it comes to women victims, as well as appropriate treatment by the competent services in the country - police, doctors, social service. The high scores of Neuroticism point to the existence of psychopathology. This is indication that women victims of domestic violence suffer from anxiety, depression, and there is no exclusion of post-traumatic stress and suicidal behavior. It is necessary to pay attention to the education of women who are victims of domestic violence, especially in terms of finding new ways of dealing with conflicting situations in the home or, if she has decided to leave the partner, it is necessary to find ways and new opportunities to help her get out of the circle of violence. Furthermore, women should be motivated and encouraged to continue their education, and if they are faced with domestic violence, they must be encouraged. Communication between the relevant services must ensure the safety and security of a woman victim of violence, but also to ensure for the abuser and that means , the appropriate legal penalties for the one who caused domestic violence must not and can not be the only measure for the prevention of violent behavior. Also, the one who causes the violence needs professional help in order to be able to constructively express the emotions and learn effective life skills to face the problems and frustrations of everyday life.

Список литературы / References

1. Davis R.L. Domestic Violence: Facts and Fallacies / Davis R.L. - Praeger, Westport, CT. Publication, 1998

2. Henning K. Prevalence and characteristics of psychological abuse reported by court-involved battered women / Henning, K., & Klesges, L.M. // Journal of Interpersonal Violence. - 2003. Vol. 18(8). - P. 857-871

3. J.Wilson, When Violence Begins at Home / K.J. Wilson - Hunter House Inc. Publishers, 1997.

4. Lori L. Violence Against Woman - the e hidden health burden / Lori L. Heise J.P., A - World Bank, Washington DC, 1994.

5. O'Leary K.D. Psychological abuse in violent domestic relations / O'Leary, K. D. & Mairuo, R. D. - New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company, 2005

6. Roberts G.L. The impact of domestic violence on women's mental health / Roberts G.L., Lawrens M.J., Williams G.M., Raphael B // Violence and Victims. 1998. Volume 22 (7). - P. 796-801

7. Roberts G.L. The impact of domestic violence on women's mental health / Roberts G.L., Lawrens M.J., Williams G.M., Raphael B // Violence and Victims. - 1998. - Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 796-801.

8. UNICEF, Domestic Violence against women and girls/ UNICEF, Innocenti Digest No 6 - Innocenti research Center, Florence, Italy, 2000 ISSN: 102-3528

9. Smederevac C. Velikih pet plus dva: primena i interpretacija [The big five plus two: Application and interpretation] / Smederevac, C., Mitrovich, D. and Cholovich, P. Belgrade, Center for applied psychology, 2010. [in Serbian]

10. Sokolova I. Zhivot bez nasilstvo e mojata idnina - prirachnik [Life without violence is mu future - manual] / Sokolova I., Gazepova V. - AUSZM Woman Association, Radovish, 2001. [in Macedonian]

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