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Keywords:

  • domestic battering;
  • control perceptions;
  • coping

Abstract

We investigated the influence of control judgments and coping style on emotional reactions to domestic violence utilizing the framework of hopelessness theory. We assessed abuse severity, control attributions, coping, dysphoric symptoms, and hopelessness in 70 battered women recruited from 12 domestic violence agencies. Respondents reported dysphoria but not hopelessness. Increased reports of dysphoria were associated with higher levels of self-blame and avoidance coping and lower levels of problem-focused coping. Increased problem-focused coping was associated with decreased hopelessness. Perceived control over current abuse was not related to dysphoria. High expectations for control over future events were associated with decreased dysphoria. We discuss our results in terms of their application to attributional accounts of emotional reactions to battering.