The Role of Depression, Social Support, and Gender in an Individual's Decision to Leave an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

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2006-01-19
Authors
Mitchell, Danielle Lynn
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Leslie, Dr. Leigh
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Abstract
This study explored the relationship between depression, the social support of friends and family, gender, and the steps an individual takes to leave an emotionally abusive relationship. A primary analysis was run on 424 individuals who presented for couples therapy at a university based clinic. Results indicated that depression was positively associated with taking more steps to leave an emotionally abusive relationship for both genders. Family support was not associated with steps to leave for either gender; however, social support of friends was negatively associated with steps to leave for females only. Social support only moderated the relationship between depression and steps to leave for females with higher depression levels in the sample. A secondary analysis indicated that severity of abuse had the strongest association with steps to leave the relationship. The results have important implications on how depression and social support are treated in emotionally abused individuals.
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