Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Terance Miethe

Number of Pages



The current study explores factors motivating women to leave or remain in violent relationships from an interactionist perspective. Literature reviewed will integrate gender socialization and labeling with studies on domestic violence to investigate a woman's role in becoming a victim and her responses to violent relationships. Interview data from women residing in a domestic violence shelter examine the label "battered woman" insofar as it may serve as a catalyst for leaving an abusive relationship once a woman identifies with being a battered woman. Further, a woman's view of her role, commitment to family maintenance, and children in the home are examined as factors influencing women to remain in or leave abusive relationships. The following questions are examined qualitatively using responses to open-ended survey questions: (1) does the identification of being a battered woman motivate women to leave an abusive relationship? (2) To what extent does a woman's belief in family maintenance and obligation motivate her to remain in an abusive relationship? (3) How is the decision to leave a violent relationship influenced by behavior changes in the child/children? Factors influencing women to remain in or leave abusive relationships are important to identify for further development in policy and education programs of family violence prevention.


Battered; Exploring; Factors; Leave; Motivating; Relationship; Remains; Violent; Women

Controlled Subject

Criminology; Women's studies; Social service; Social psychology

File Format


File Size

1679.36 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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