Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Social Work

Degree Program

Social Work, PhD

Committee Chair

Golder, Seana

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Hall, Martin

Committee Member

Karam, Eli

Committee Member

Higgins, George

Committee Member

Flaherty, Chris


Abused women--Psychology; Abused women--Mental health; Women--Violence against--Psychological aspects


Justice-involved women experience significantly higher rates of victimization and psychological distress when compared to the general population. While both childhood victimization and adult Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) both directly contribute to psychological distress, scant research examines the effects of cumulative victimization (both child and adult IPV) across a woman’s lifetime on psychological distress. Additionally, a gap in the literature is the investigation of behavior specific mechanisms (self-esteem, social support, coping, and substance use) that may mediate the relationship between victimization and psychological distress. As such, the primary aim of this dissertation was to explore the relationship between cumulative victimization (childhood and adult IPV), the hypothesized mediators (self-esteem, social support, coping, and substance use), and psychological distress among a sample of 406 victimized women on probation and parole. Results of the Structural Equation Model (SEM) indicated a partial mediation model with both direct and indirect effects from the victimization to psychological distress when mediated by self-esteem and coping. Based upon the results of this research, implications for practice are explored specifically regarding targeted treatment models for justice-involved women who are highly victimized and experience significant levels of psychological distress, as both have been found to contribute to women’s involvement in the CJ system.

Included in

Social Work Commons