Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Lois Layne, Karlene Ball, Clinton Layne

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


A review of theory and research on spouse abuse identified sex-role socialization and past experiences with abuse as possible factors contributing to women's tolerance of abusive relationships. The current study of 151 college women attempted to identify factors predictive of tolerance of abuse which could identify women at risk of becoming abused. It was hypothesized that significantly more abused than non-abused women would be classified as feminine on the Bern Sex Role Inventory (Bern, 1974) and that previous experiences with abuse would be related to greater tolerance of abuse as measured by the Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS); (Straus, 1979). Neither hypothesis was supported. The study failed to identify possible predictors of tolerance of abuse. However, the study provided a description of abusive experiences in college women. Fifty-two percent of the subjects were classified as abused on the CTS. Brothers were the most frequent abusers. Abused women reported a much higher frequency of experiences with all forms of conflict. Care must be taken in generalizing the findings from this study to the general population due to the fact that the entire subject population was enrolled in college, and that most of the women classified as abused were so due to abuse by brothers and not by a mate in a long-term relationship.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Psychology Commons