Battered Woman Syndrome
Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology
How to Cite
Rubin, L. 2010. Battered Woman Syndrome. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.
- Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Twenty-five percent of women are physically or sexually abused, and in nearly all instances psychologically abused, by intimate partners during the course of a relationship. Walker (1979) identified Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS) as a predictable pattern of psychological response to domestic violence. During the same time period, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was identified by the American Psychiatric Association (1980) to describe the predictable effects of traumatic events. It became increasingly clear that different types of terrifying experiences, including combat, rape, torture, and childhood physical and sexual abuse, all resulted in the same basic psychological response (Herman, 1992). Nearly two-thirds of battered women experienced symptom patterns that met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD (Goodman & Epstein, 2008). By the 1990s, it became apparent that PTSD in battered women and BWS were explaining the same condition.
Keywords: battered woman syndrome; battered women; domestic violence; post-traumatic stress disorder; Complex PTSD