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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Judith Hoorn

First Committee Member

Elmer Clawson

Second Committee Member

Mari Irvin

Third Committee Member

Hugh McBride

Fourth Committee Member

Ismael Dieppa


This study addressed the lack of culture-specific empirical data related to Mexican-American battered women. In California this is of great concern because the population of Mexican-Americans is large and increasing. There is a need for programs to be designed and providers trained on the basis of more specific, differentiated data. The study addresses the following question: What are the characteristics regarding age, social isolation, substance abuse, social class, and characteristics of the battered woman's relationship with her partner? General demographic information was also analyzed. The sample included 424 Mexican-American battered women who sought emergency shelter services at one shelter during the period 1979-1994. Data were obtained from shelter records. The findings from this study pointed to a general profile of this population. The typical woman was a relatively young, poor, socially-isolated woman with low educational attainment, with two to three children, who was subjected to a variety of emotional and physical abuse from a male partner who cohabited with her. Most of the partners were substance users with a jail or prison record. The average relationship was seven years in length, with violence starting after approximately one and one half years. Most of the women experienced abuse during pregnancy. The data analysis further revealed that 121 of the 424 women left the batterer after one incident of abuse. Implications for service providers who intend to attract and serve Mexican-American battered women include the provision of support groups within the shelter and the location and referral to support groups outside of the shelter. Support groups would serve the dual function of validating the battered woman's experiences and of empowering her to maximize her individual potential. It is recommended that future researchers compare characteristics of women who left their batterer after one incident of abuse to women who stayed and endured abuse for an average of 5.5 years.



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