Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Margaret Fish

Second Advisor

Martin Amerikaner

Third Advisor

Elaine Baker


Over the past twenty years, awareness of the significant issue of intimate partner violence (IPV) has steadily increased. The deleterious consequences of IPV on physical and psychological health are well documented. However, much of our understanding of IPV is based on urban models, while little is known about the phenomena of IPV among rural women. In an attempt to address this deficiency within the literature, the present study explored the impact of IPV on rural women. Fifty-six women, between the ages of 18 to 69 comprised three distinct groups: the rural IPV victims recruited from the community (R-IPV group, n=13), IPV victims in treatment a (T-IPV group, n=13) and a rural control group (RC group, n=30). All participants were orally administered a battery of self-report measures assessing demographic information, social support, smoking, traumatic event exposure, IPV and PTSD. Analyses revealed that the T-IPV group differed significantly from the R-IPV group, since they reported a more perceived social support and scored higher on a measure of IPV. Further, comparisons of all three groups yielded significant differences. Compared to the RC group, both victim groups were more likely to report current smoking, and scored higher on a measure of smoking dependence and addiction. Although the RC group reported more received social support, the T-IPV group reported more perceived social support than both the RC and R-IPV group. Both victim groups were more likely to meet criteria for PTSD compared to the RC group. Participants meeting criteria for PTSD (PTSD-positive) were compared to participants who did not meet criteria for PTSD (PTSD-negative) and significant differences were detected. PTSD-positive participants were more likely to be unemployed and reported lower income levels. Further, PTSD-positive participants endorsed higher levels of psychological aggression and were more likely to describe sensorimotor manipulation as a reason for smoking. Overall, these findings suggest the need for more comprehensive IPV services, designed for both victims and the rural communities in which they reside.


Family violence.

Dating violence.

Abused women.

Rural women - Abuse.