ERIC Number: ED208292
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Myth of Cognitive Consistency: Psychological Theories and Intimate Violence.
Horowitz, Sandra V.
Several psychological theories are viable when examining the victims of intimate violence, specifically battered women. Although cognitive consistency models view individuals as striving toward balanced cognitive states, battered women can exist with the cognitive inconsistency of being harmed by men who love them. The theory of cognitive arousal sees the novelty of the male/female relationship as one factor in reaching an optimum arousal level. Other theories also attempt to explain why abused victims remain in relationships, including: (1) the "Just World" hypothesis that blames the victim; (2) learned helplessness; (3) an integrative model of reactance theory and learned helplessness; (4) attribution theory that explains learned helplessness as a likely response if failure to exert control is attributed to stable rather than variable factors; (5) sex-role-based theories that suggest that women with low self-esteem and traditional sex-role views have difficulty perceiving their own victimization; and (6) the illusion of control in which the battered woman feels greater control over the familiar abusive relationship than over situations outside the relationship. A vital component of any psychological reversal of the battered women's negative image may be the creation of viable economic alternatives for these women. (NRB)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Association for Women in Psychology (8th, Boston, MA, March 5-8, 1981).