The Role of Depression, Social Support, and Gender in an Individual’s Decision to Leave an Emotionally Abusive Relationship, Research Paper Example

Outline

Part 1- Introduction

Introduction

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Social support
  • Depression as a variable
  • Purpose

Part 11: Literature review

Study 1

Study 11

Study 111

Part 111 Methodology

Design

Sample

Data collection Procedures

Instrument

Data analysis

Conclusion

Abstract

This study will examine the influences of depression, social support, and gender (dependant variables) on the individual’s decision to leave an emotionally abusive relationship (Independent variable). Undergraduate students will be randomly assigned to an intervention vs. controlled condition. Couples will be assessed together, then individually. The intervention participants will be evaluated through counseling sessions over a period of 3 months, meeting 3 times a week. Each student will be tested on the current state of his/her relationship and social life, rating their symptoms of happiness on a scale of 1 -10, 1 being depressed and 10 being ecstatic. We predicted that the levels of depression, social support, and gender will influence a person’s decision to either leave or remain in an abusive relationship.

Part 1: Introduction

Overview: – Depression can also be classified as despair and dejection resulting in mood changes, which produce low inappropriate vibrations (Cuijpers et.al, 2012). In explaining emotionally abusive relationships analysts have identified fifteen signs, which are indicative of the existence of this interaction dysfunction. Initially, the emotionally abused person becomes afraid to share normal daily occurrences with his/her partner. The partner regularly makes the person feel insignificant whenever an opinion is expressed. Thirdly, he/she becomes available to the partner even when he/she does not feel like it just to avoid a confrontation (Follingstad & Dehart, 2000).

Next the emotionally abuses spouse avoids going out in public with the partner because he/she does not want to be embarrassed or humiliated in public. Fifthly, feelings of insecurity begin to surface and the abused begins blaming his/herself for the problem. Subsequently, it is observed that the abuser does not share in the abused joys, but simply offers offensive remarks for achievements. Then the abused begins to feel trapped and helpless. The interaction between them is as if the abused is the abuser’s property subject to correction/maltreatment and humiliation. Consequently, the abuser takes control of money even that of the abused and manages his/her life (Follingstad & Dehart, 2000).

Once the abused begins to recognize the mistreatment and starts to retaliate the abuser blames the abused for being the problem. This is when the abused begin to be the abuser’s fulfilling prophesy and becomes worthless. Foolishly, the abused will go out of his/her way to please the abuser only to find that it does not work. Ultimately, the abused becomes a hermit with no friends and the abuser does not want the abused to have any other relationships. The abused feels deserving of the maltreatment. The abused is so mental deranged that he/she begins to make excuses for the partner’s obvious emotional abuse (Follingstad & Dehart, 2000).      Importantly, here is where acute depression manifests; social support is necessary because the abused feels that due to their gender he/she has created a social problem. Routes of escape become inevitable, but the person must have social support to make it happen.

Benefits of Social Support: – The importance of social support in making a decision to leave emotionally abusive relationships cannot be overemphasized. Counseling and mental health therapies are essential tools in removing the abused from a space of depression created by feeling of worthlessness. Social support relives stress and restores feelings of self-worth while lifting self-esteem as well as rebuilding confidence.

Depression as a variable: – While depression appears dysfunctional it is motivational in making the abuser think deeply about their apparent dilemma. Cognitive theories advance that the abnormality emerges from ‘maladaptive, faulty, or irrational cognitions taking the form of distorted thoughts and judgments’ (Beck, 1996).  Further, assumptions are that depression manifests as a cognitive triad demonstrating as diverted view of the self, world and future (Beck, 1996).

Obviously, emotional abuse as explained in the preceding paragraphs of this research document creates distortion of the self and the abused realization of helplessness resorts to finding the way out of a disastrous situation. It is either that the person dies in it or is removed from the environment. Feelings of helplessness could also create barriers to making that decision to leave the relationship. A distorted self-image could conclude that there is no one from whom help can come because of the unworthiness syndrome.

There is insufficient research to offer evidence regarding incidences of depression emerging from emotional abuse. However, assumptions are that emotional abuse will ultimately develop into depression and more severely suicidal tendencies. Whether relationships create depression or depression is due to some other reason research is inconclusive on the issue. Both emotional abuse and depression are insidious. It is only when they escalate towards a severity level analysts recognize and classify the dysfunction.

Purpose: – As such, the purpose of this study is to explore the role of depression, in stimulating an abused person’s decision to leave a dysfunctional relationship when social support interventions and gender reorientation is offered through counseling and therapy. It is hoped that by conducting an experiment whereby reactions emerging from an intervention vs. control group c evaluation this could be discovered.

Part 11: Literature review

       This literature review embraces analysis of three studies after an electronic data base search was conducted. Keys terms depression, emotional abuse, social support and gender were used to guide the browsing. The following research studies have been selected as being most appropriate.

Study 1:- Ruscio, A. Seitchik, A. Gentes, E. Jones, J., Halliona, H. (2011). Perseverative

Thought: A Robust Predictor of Response to Emotional Challenge in Generalized Anxiety

Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. Behav Res Ther. 49(12): 867–874.

Purpose: Researchers recognized that while there is a high incidence of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) reasons for their comorbidity remain poorly understood. This experiment sought to explore this phenomenon.

Methodology: – 154 adults 18-80 years old were recruited from a Philadelphia community and student population.  60% were females; 73% were never married; 87% completed college; 66% Caucasian; 17% blacks; 11% Asian and 6% Pacific Islander/ Hispanic. They were assigned to one of four mutually exclusive groups. Subsequently, the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for DSM-IV– Life Time Version was administered.

Results: – Results were highly suggestive that Perseverative Thought functions were the common variables for anxiety and depression. It predicted whether the person would develop anxious thought patterns or simply become depressed. Consequently, this influences emergence of depressed affecting cognition when in an emotionally challenge situation.

Conclusions: Researchers consider these results heartening since ‘the potential to yield more powerful interventions for GAD, MDD, and their disabling and costly comorbidity’ (Ruscio et.al, 2011, 872) can be accessed.

Study 11:- Yeung, H. Chowdhury, N. Malpass, A., & 3Feder, G. (2012). Responding to

Domestic Violence in General Practice: A Qualitative Study on Perceptions and

Experiences. Int J Family Med. 6(12), 42-50

Purpose: – While perceptions and experiences among general practitioners (GPs) and nurses differ in identifying female patients affected by domestic violence; referral protocols to specialist and agencies as well as social support methods, need to be clarified. As such, the study tested the effectiveness in execution of community support programs towards influencing women to flee from abusive relationships.

Methodology: – It was a qualitative study evaluating effectiveness of the identification and referral to improve safety (IRIS) in domestic violence intervention and support programes. Its aim was helping women remove themselves from abusive relationships. It embraced a multidisciplinary training session assessment. There were two phases of the trial. The first phase encompassed interviews of clinicians involved in training and phase two follow up interviews were after training.

Results: – General practitioners viewed their role in domestic violence intervention differently, from nurses. Nurses spent longer periods with clients and could identify need for counseling more readily than general practitioners. Obvious barriers to disclosing domestic violence issues were embarrassment; cultural differences and stigmatization.

Conclusions: Domestic violence interventions should aim at collaborative support approaches inclusive of doctors, nurses, social workers and community specialist in helping the abused make decisions to leave abusive relationships.

Study 111: Constantino, R. Kim, Y., & Crane, P (2005). Effects of a Social Support Intervention

on Health Outcomes in Residents of a domestic violence Shelter: A pilot Study. Issues in

       Mental Health Nursing, 26, 575–590.

Purpose: This is a pilot project aimed at testing the influence of social support in helping women stay out of abusive relationships.

Methodology: – Researchers adopted a randomized pilot project with two groups. They comprised of 24 women who were first time residents of the Western Pennsylvania shelter. 70.8% were white and the 29.2% African American women. They were between the ages of 28-43 with a minimal high school education. The social support intervention (SSI) was conducted for eight weeks once weekly for 90 minutes. Four functions were embodied in this intervention namely, belonging, evaluation, self-esteem, and tangible support (BEST). No intervention therapy was prescribed for the control group apart from chatting with counselors.

Results: – The social support intervention group showed marked improvement above the control. Perception of social support influenced outcomes.

Conclusions: – While this was a very heartening outcome researcher fell that longitudinal studies should follow with larger diverse samples to validate these findings.

Analysis

These three studies sought to highlight the influences of depression, social support, and gender (dependant variables) on the individual’s decision to leave an emotionally abusive relationship (Independent variable). Ruscio (2011) and colleagues recognized that Perseverative Thought functions were the common variables for anxiety and depression. Consequently, it influences emergence of depressed affecting cognition when in an emotionally challenge situation (Ruscio et.al, 2011).

Therefore, according to Yeung’s (2012) team domestic violence interventions should aim at collaborative support approaches inclusive of doctors, nurses, social workers and community specialist in helping the abused make decisions to leave abusive relationships (Yeung, 2012).

Consequently, Constantino’s (2005) group of researchers confirmed that social support interventions are very effective in improving mental health and perception of social support influences outcomes (Constantino et.al, 2005).  As such, the hypothesis directing this research proposal embraces the assumption that levels of depression, social support, and gender type orientation influences a person’s decision to either leave or remain in an abusive relationship.

Part 111: Methodology

Design: – This is expected to be a qualitative controlled experiment. Qualitative methods investigate the why and how of a decision making process as in this study. It gathers in-depth understanding of human behavior. Therefore, the samples are smaller and more focused. An experiment verifies and nullifies in the process of validating a hypothesis. It also explores cause and effect of a phenomenon (Creswell, 2003). Hence, the reason for choosing a qualitative experiment design in exploring the influence of depression, social support, and type of gender orientation on a person’s decision to either leave or remain in an abusive relationship encompassed all these elements outlined in the nature of this research.

Sample: – Samples are expected to be derived from undergraduate students who have been in intimate partner violence (IPV) relationships and a control group.

Data collection procedures: Qualitative research methods can utilize a number of data collection techniques. These include grounded theory strategies; naratology, storytelling, shadowing and classical ethnography. In applying the experiment data procedure couples will be assessed together, then individually. The intervention participants will be evaluated through counseling sessions over a period of 3 months, meeting 3 times a week. Each student will be tested on the current state of his/her relationship and social life, rating their symptoms of happiness on a scale of 1 -10, 1 being depressed and 10 being ecstatic.

Instrument: – The specific instrument will encompass counseling sessions with structured social support interaction questions and responses. In compliance with the qualitative experimental design independent variables decision to leave an emotionally abusive will be articulated within the instrument in measurable inclusion criteria as well as the dependant variables depression, social support, and gender.

Data analysis: – Qualitative methods usually employ interpretive techniques in analysis of data. Since this would be a control experiment the facilitator would observe reactions and record them during each session. These responses would then be coded by attaching a code to similar/dis-similar responses and assembling for interpretation. Percentages will be calculated as well as means where necessary.

Conclusion

Aronson, Wilson and Akert (2010) posit that social psychology is ‘the scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people: parents, friends, employee, teachers strangers’ (Aronson et.al, 2010). Reflecting on this research project when an investigation into how levels of depression, social support, and type of gender orientation influences a person’s decision to either leave or remain in an abusive relationship certainly is a social psychology.

Precisely, the literature review confirmed that perseverative thought functions play a very important role in initiating depression, which could develop from emotional abuse. However, the decision to remain in an abusive relation is left to the individual strength to overcome self-pity distorted thought patterns and raise above degradation of character, gender while not highly discussed in this report do play an important role. Once study showed where women were more likely to be abused than man due to their gender insecurity (Constantino et.al, 2005).

The social psychology of being a woman often makes them vulnerable to emotional disturbance since they express more emotion than men, generally. From supporting literature social support intervention is paramount in helping vulnerable groups make decisions to leave emotionally abusive relationships. A notable limitation of this research is that many studies group domestic violence with emotional/psychological abuse. As such, the boundaries between emotional and physical abuse have not been clearly established. It is hoped that this research assists in setting those boundaries as valuable contributions to the body knowledge in of social psychology are made.

 References

Aronson, E., Wilson, T., & Akert, R. (2010). Social Psychology (11th ed.). Prentice Hall.

Beck, A. (1996). The Past and the future of Cognitive Therapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research 6 (4): 276–284

Constantino, R. Kim, Y., & Crane, P (2005). Effects of a Social Support Intervention on Health Outcomes in Residents of a domestic violence Shelter: A pilot Study. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 26, 575–590

Creswell, J. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Cuijpers, P. Beekman, A., & Reynolds, C. (2012). Preventing Depression: A Global Priority. Jama 307 (10), 1033–1034.

Follingstad, D., & Dehart, D. (2000). Defining Psychological Abuse of Husbands Toward Wives: Contexts, Behaviors, and Typologies. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 15 (9): 891.

Ruscio, A. Seitchik, A. Gentes, E. Jones, J., Halliona, H. (2011). Perseverative Thought: A Robust Predictor of Response to Emotional Challenge in Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. Behav Res Ther. 49(12): 867–874.

Yeung, H. Chowdhury, N. Malpass, A., & 3Feder, G. (2012). Responding to Domestic Violence in General Practice: A Qualitative Study on Perceptions and Experiences. Int J Family Med.  6(12), 42-50

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3514044/