Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Clinical Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Christine Fiore

Commitee Members

David Schuldberg, Tom Seekins, Nancy Arnold


domestic violence, isolation, ptsd, rural, social support, women


University of Montana


The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of physical isolation in rural battered women. The relationships between physical isolation, level of traumatic symptoms and social support are assessed. By definition rural women are usually geographically isolated, which may contribute to the difficulty of leaving abusive relationships. Strong rural, socio-cultural norms such as traditional gender and marital roles, combined with a lack of access to beneficial services may prevent rural victims from fleeing to safety. As a result victims may be even more vulnerable to their batterers. To more fully understand difficulties faced by battered women, archival data containing a community sample of 394 women, who had experienced violence in a current or past romantic relationship, were examined. Overall quantitative findings from this sample suggest that for battered women higher violence frequency and severity are associated with greater physical isolation. In addition, high trauma symptoms are associated with greater help-seeking. Findings obtained from qualitative and quantitative data discuss isolation, culture, frequency and severity of violence, social support, and trauma symptomatology in a battered female population. Findings may provide a deeper understanding that is sensitive to the needs of women living in rural settings.



© Copyright 2007 Joanna Legerski