Battered womens syndrome is theory of learned helplessness and not a mental illness

Such violence can be fatal. Every day in the United States, more than three women and one man are murdered by their intimate partners on average.

Battered womens syndrome is theory of learned helplessness and not a mental illness

A short while later, the Governor, citing spousal abuse as his impetus, released seven women convicted of killing their husbands, and the Great and General Court of Massachusetts enacted Mass.

The theory of learned helplessness sought to account for the passive behavior subjects exhibited when placed in an uncontrollable environment. In the former cage, henceforth referred to as the shock cage, a bell would sound and the experimenters would electrify the entire floor seconds later, shocking the dog regardless of location.

Battered womens syndrome is theory of learned helplessness and not a mental illness

The latter cage, however, although similar in every other respect to the shock cage, contained a small area where the experimenters could administer no shock. Seligman observed that while the dogs in the latter cage learned to run to the nonelectrified area after a series of shocks, the dogs in the shock cage gave up trying to escape, even when placed in the latter cage and shown that escape was possible.

Thus, according to the theory of learned helplessness, a subject placed in an uncontrollable environment will become passive and accept painful stimuli, even though escape is possible and apparent. The cycle of violence is composed of three phases: During the tension building phase, the victim is subjected to verbal abuse and minor battering incidents, such as slaps, pinches and psychological abuse.

In this phase, the woman tries to pacify her batterer by using techniques that have worked previously.

Typically, the woman showers her abuser with kindness or attempts to avoid him. The tension building phase ends and the active battering phase begins when the verbal abuse and minor battering evolve into an acute battering incident. A release of the tensions built during phase one characterizes the active battering phase, which usually last for a period of two to twenty-four hours.

The violence during this phase is unpredictable and inevitable, and statistics indicate that the risk of the batterer murdering his victim is at its greatest. The behavior exhibited by the batter in the calm loving respite phase closely resembles the behavior he exhibited when the couple first met and fell in love.

The calm loving respite phase is the most psychologically victimizing phase because the batterer fools the victim, who is relieved that the abuse has ended, into believing that he has changed.

However, inevitably, the batterer begins to verbally abuse his victim and the cycle of abuse begins anew. As noted earlier, dogs who were placed in an environment where pain was unavoidable responded by becoming passive.

Walker asserts that, in the domestic abuse ambit, sporadic brutality, perceptions of powerlessness, lack of financial resources and the superior strength of the batterer all combine to instill a feeling of helplessness in the victim. In other words, batterers condition women into believing that they are powerless to escape by subjecting them to a continuing pattern of uncontrollable violence and abuse.

A simple, yet effective, behavioral strategy consists of two stages. Generally, professionals help the victim escape by using assertiveness training, modeling and recommending use of the court system.

After the woman terminates the abusive relationship, professionals give the victim relapse prevention training to ensure that subsequent exposure to abusive behavior will not cause maladaptive behavior. Although this strategy is effective, the model offered by Dr. Walker suggests that battered women usually do not actively seek out help.

Therefore, concerned agencies and individuals must be proactive and extremely sensitive to the needs and fears of victims. Women in a domestic abuse situation experience a cycle of violence with their abuser. The cycle is composed of three phases: A gradual increase in verbal abuse marks the tension building phase.

When this abuse culminates into an acute battering episode, the relationship enters the active battering phase. Once the acute battering phase ends, usually within two to twenty-four hours, the parties enter the calm loving respite phase, in which the batterer expresses remorse and promises to change.

After the cycle has played out several times, the victim begins to manifest symptoms of learned helplessness. Battered Women as Survivors.

Over the years, empirical data has emerged that casts doubt on Dr. Two researchers, Edward W. Gondolf and Ellen R. For instance, the two, in discounting Dr. Bowker that indicates victims of abuse often contact other family members for help as the violence escalates over time.Therefore, the classical battered women's syndrome theory is best regarded as an offshoot of the theory of learned helplessness and not a mental illness that afflicts abused women.

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The theory of learned helplessness sought to account for the passive behavior subjects exhibited when placed in an uncontrollable environment. Therefore, the classical battered women's syndrome theory is best regarded as an offshoot of the theory of learned helplessness and not a mental illness that afflicts abused initiativeblog.com theory of learned helplessness sought to account for the passive behavior subjects exhibited when placed in an uncontrollable environment.

Home» Psych Central Professional» Battered relationship. 8 Mental illness and previous trauma were not specified by the women interviewed, although learned helplessness and drug abuse. In fact, Dr.

Lenore Walker, the architect of the classical battered women's syndrome theory, notes the syndrome is not an illness, but a theory that draws upon the principles of learned helplessness to explain why some women are unable to leave their abusers.

Battered woman syndrome is not a legal defense in and of itself, but may legally constitute: () Learned Helplessness: A Theory for the Age of Personal Control, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Battered womens syndrome is theory of learned helplessness and not a mental illness

Ratushny, Lynn. Self Defence Review: Final Report to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor-General of Canada (11 July ). With battered woman syndrome, a woman may develop a learned helplessness that causes her to believe she deserves the abuse and that she can’t get away from it.

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