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Mental Disorders In Battered Women: An Empirical Study

W. Gleason
Published 1993 · Psychology, Medicine

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Prevalence of mental disorders in 62 battered women receiving services from a Florida battered woman agency was identified by means of a structured interview, the Diagnostic Interview Schedule. Of the total sample of battered women, 30 were in a shelter operated by the agency and 32 were living in their own homes and receiving assistance from the agency. Resultant diagnoses met diagnostic criteria developed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (3rd. ed.) of the American Psychiatric Association. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule is a 263 item structured interview used in the National Institute of Mental Health Epidemiological Catchment Area program carried out in the early 1980s. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule permits the use of 10,953 females in the epidemiological study as a comparison group of normal women. Scoring of the interviews was done by a computer diagnostic program with absolute decision rules. Extremely high prevalence was found for psychosexual dysfunction, major depression, post traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. These diagnoses appear to reflect the major components of the battered woman syndrome developed by Lenore Walker and the study approximates Walker's request for improved methodology in the research into the psychology of the battered woman.
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