Battered women's cognitive schemata



This study examined battered women's cognitive schema in relation to their cognitions about violence (i.e., the “meaning” attached to the violence), post-traumatic reactions to violence, and sexual victimization histories. Seventy-two battered women seeking help from an outpatient family violence clinic were subjects. The meaning of the violence (e.g., expectations of recurrent violence and of severe/lethal violence, causal attribution) was found to explain variance in cognitive schemata about SAFETY, SELF, AND OTHER (McCann and Pearlman, 1990a). All measures of cognitive schemata were significantly related to various global and specific measures of posttraumatic stress (GSI, MMPI-PTSD, IES). No differences were found for cognitive schemata based on histories of sexual victimization. Results point to the importance of assessing the impact of traumatic experiences on core cognitive beliefs as a component in the constellation of post-traumatic sequelae.