Battered Woman's Syndrome

The term battered woman's syndrome (BWS), first coined by Dr. Lenore Walker in 1979, describes a pattern of psychological and behavioral characteristics found in women living in violent relationships. It also provides a possible explanation for why abused women continue to remain in battering relationships.

Central to the concept of BWS is the theory of learned helplessness. Learned helplessness theory predicts that an individual's self-efficacy can be diminished through abusive interactions. The aversive experiences associated with trauma lower the victim's perception of effectiveness in being able to control what happens to him or her.


Spousal abuse is pervasive in many societies and cultures, especially where women are the victims. Every year thousands of women are injured or killed as a result of intimate violence. In the ...

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