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Journal Article


Heim EM, Trujillo Tapia L, Quintanilla Gonzáles R. J. Interpers. Violence 2018; 33(8): 1348-1365.


Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Cochabamba, Bolivia.


(Copyright © 2018, SAGE Publishing)






This study examines the role of cognitive distortion in women's decision to stay with or leave their violent partner in a sample of Bolivian women. Our study is based on a consistency model: Cognitive distortion is assumed to play an important role in maintaining cognitive consistency under threatening conditions. Eighty victims of partner violence aged 18 to 62 years who sought help in a legal institution were longitudinally assessed three times over a time period of 6 months. Measures were taken from previous studies and culturally adapted through qualitative interviews. Nearly half of the participants decreased their intention to leave the violent partner in the time span of 1 month between the first and second interview. Women who had decreased their leaving intention had concurrently increased their cognitive distortion: They blamed their partner less, were more convinced that they could stop the violence themselves, and were more likely to believe that their partner would change. Cognitive distortion was not observed among women who remained stable in their intention to leave. Women whose intention of leaving decreased and who displayed more cognitive distortion after 1 month were more likely to live with the violent partner 6 months later than women whose leaving intention remained stable or increased. Socio-demographic variables were not related to cognitive distortion or stay-leave decisions in this study. We conclude that cognitive distortion plays a role for women's decision to stay, enhancing their risk of re-victimization.

Language: en


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