College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Winter 12-2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Linda M. Montgomery, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gary W. McCullough, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Rachel Juarez-Torres, Ed.D.

Abstract

The present study examined whether adult women in therapy who have been physically abused express anger differently than their counterparts who have been sexually abused, and whether they are aware that they express anger in noticeable ways. The first hypothesis stated that physically abused women express anger directly and physically, whereas sexually abused women express anger indirectly, avoiding direct confrontation. The second hypothesis proposed that they are not aware how much they express their anger outwardly. Participants were female clients at a local counseling agency, with issues stemming from physical and/or sexual abuse. They voluntarily completed the Aggression Questionnaire (AQ) by Buss and Warren (2000), which measures aggression, violence, and anger. Awareness of anger expression was measured by pretest and posttest questions. Statistical analysis did not find significant differences in anger expression or awareness. Overall, scores on all scales except physical aggression were elevated, with Anger and Hostility subscales significantly elevated.

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