Date of Award

5-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Kristina C. Gordon

Committee Members

Paula Fite, Gregory Stuart

Abstract

Several theories have attempted to explain the stay/leave decisions of women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). One recent study suggests that women’s intent to return to their abusive partners was related to forgiveness of the abuse; consequently, this study aims to identify factors that may make women more likely to forgive IPV. It was hypothesized that commitment, specifically both personal dedication and constraint commitment (Stanley & Markman, 1992), would predict forgiveness and that denial of injury would mediate the relation between commitment and forgiveness, as women may be more likely to deny the severity of the abuse in order to reduce the experienced dissonance that arises from being committed to an unhealthy relationship. Finally, it was hypothesized that silencing the self (Jack, 1991) would moderate the relation between personal dedication and denial of injury. Results generally supported the hypothesis that denial of injury would mediate the relation between commitment and forgiveness. Silencing the self was not found to be a moderator. These findings, limitations, and future directions are discussed.

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