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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2004 March;45(1):43-54

language: Italian

The battered woman syndrome in Italy. A psychological prospective study

Marchiori E., Rossi L., Colombo G.


Aim. The battered-woman syndrome refers to a psychopathological condition of women who are victims of psychological and physical violence from their male partners. The purpose of this paper is a brief review of the literature on this subject and a study of a battered-women group in comparison with a control group. The main aim of this research is to explore the relations between the experience of domestic violence, the general physical and psychological health condition, the presence of dissociative and post-traumatic symptoms and the presence of personality traits of dependency.
Methods. A total of 50 women has participated in this study. Twenty-five battered women and 25 non-battered women have been evaluated by 4 self-rating scale: General Health Question-naire (GHQ), Dissociative Experience Scale (DES), Post-Traumatic Symptom Scale Self-Report (PSS-SR) and Dependence Self-Rating Scale (DSRS).
Results. Battered women, compared to non-battered women, have obtained significantly higher scores on the DES and on the PSS-SR, including all their subscales, on the GHQ, including somatic and depressive symptom subscales and on the DSRS, including the submission scale.
Conclusion. Results are consistent with previous international research and bear out that domestic violence is a traumatic experience with long-time medical and mental health consequences on victims. The dependency seems to be a personality characteristic of battered women. Results and limits of this study are being discussed. Future research is called for to better explore this issue in Italy.

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