Predicting Women's Intentions to Leave Abusive Relationships: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior1


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    The authors thank the women who volunteered to participate in this study, as well as undergraduate research assistants Gretchen Miller and Brian Ogolsky.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Christina A. Byrne, Department of Psychology, Western Washington University, 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225-9089. E-mail:


A theoretically derived decision-making model was applied to predict women's intentions to remain in or to terminate physically abusive relationships with male partners. Participants were 48 women residing in a shelter for battered women who responded to questionnaires assessing the components of the theory of planned behavior. Data provided support for the model. Specifically, women were found to have greater intentions to leave the relationships if they held positive attitudes toward leaving and believed they were in control of leaving the relationship. Normative beliefs were not predictive of intentions to leave. Empirically based suggestions for increasing the effectiveness of interventions are discussed.