Author: Gibas, Andrea Lynne
Risk assessment and safety planning are vital in preventing the damaging physical and psychological effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) on women. A potentially useful addition to these preventative tools is the victim’s voice - a woman’s self-appraisal of her abusive relationship. For this study, this voice was deconstructed into two components, risk as analysis and risk as feelings. This conceptualization was used as a basis for two interventions administered to a community-based sample of 60 IPV victims. Each woman participated in an in-depth interview that included formal risk assessment, random assignment to an intervention, generation of a safety plan, and feedback regarding the intervention. A follow-up interview was also completed to collect re-victimization data. The purpose of this study was to compare the two interventions of interest, exploring their impact on IPV victims’: (a) risk and fear appraisals, (b) safety plan quality, (c) satisfaction with the intervention, and (d) re-victimization status. Traditionally, the risk as analysis approach has prevailed. However, the results of this study are suggestive of the risk as feelings approach being at least equivalent to, if not more, beneficial to victims. Additionally, this study examined the correspondence between formal assessment of risk (i.e., conducted by a trained professional) and victim-appraised assessment of risk; moderate correspondence was demonstrated. Implications regarding the dual-mode processing conceptualization of risk, the potential mechanism underlying the risk as feelings approach, and applications to risk assessment and safety planning are discussed. The results of this study are intended to stimulate research in the area of victim-focused contextualized risk assessment and safety planning for women who have been victimized by an intimate partner.
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Thesis advisor: Hart, Stephen
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