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Woodcock, Karen Marie (2008) THE MENTAL HEALTH HELP SEEKING EXPERIENCES OF FEMALE VICTIMS OF INTIMATE PARTNER VOLENCE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This mixed-method study examined the influence of intimate partner violence (IPV) on the mental health help seeking experience of twenty-two women who received domestic violence services at a local Women's Domestic Violence Center and Shelter. The volunteer convenience sample completed the Conflict Tactic Scale 2 Short Form (CTS2S), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)-9, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian (PCL-C), and the Social Support from Others (SFO) scale along with a qualitative interview based on the Health Belief Model (HBM) assessing their experiences of mental health service acquisition outside of the shelter. Findings revealed high rates of psychological abuse (95%), physical assault and injury (82%), and sexual coercion (64%) by their intimate partner in past year. Reported PTSD was 62% and depression 55%. Identified themes related to the women's perceived need for mental health care, barriers to care, and benefits of care. Perceived need related to feelings of fear, anxiety, isolation, and concern for children. Barriers included difficulty trusting and forming a therapeutic alliance with mental health providers and finding appropriate mental health response to IPV. Perceived benefits of mental health treatment related to receiving validation and improved self-regard. Mixed-method analyses revealed a significant relationship for perceived need with both depression and PTSD. Higher perceived barriers significantly related to PTSD and depression. Lower perceived benefit significantly related to PTSD but not to depression. Social support negatively correlated with depression, PTSD and IPV. The majority of the women cited shelter staff and residents as primary providers of support. Implications include the need for increased understanding of IPV among mental health providers and increased flexibility of services for IPV victims. Further research is suggested on the mental health implications of psychological abuse and trauma associated with IPV and increasing effective provider and treatment strategies to engage IPV victims in mental health treatment.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Woodcock, Karen
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGreeno,
Committee MemberSales, Esthersales@pitt.eduSALES
Committee Member Maguire, Lambertburt@pitt.eduBURT
Committee MemberHawker,
Committee Member Cluss, Patriciaclusspa@pitt.eduCLUSSPA
Date: 7 January 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 6 December 2007
Approval Date: 7 January 2008
Submission Date: 3 January 2008
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Social Work > Social Work
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: women's mental health; domestic violence; t qualitative-descriptive
Other ID:, etd-01032008-113212
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:30
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:35


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