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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: The culmination of 30 years of research, this book describes battered woman syndrome, tying together the woman's childhood and her relationship with the batterer to help understand her psychological functioning and provide treatment options. Previous editions were published in 1984 and 2000.
Purpose: According to the author, "the goal of this edition has been to integrate the newer scientific data about the lives of battered women and how it leads to the development of battered woman syndrome together with the literature on domestic violence. We added the emphasis on culture and ethnicity, looking at how country of origin and culture interact with the impact of domestic violence. We looked at the special situation of women in jail, learning that for many of them, being in jail was their first stable environment. And in direct contrast to many of the advocates' messages, we emphasized the benefits of trauma therapy in helping some battered women heal from the psychological effects of their abuse."
Audience: Both professional counselors and students studying domestic violence are the intended audience. Dr. Walker, a professor at Southeastern University, has published extensively in the area of interpersonal violence.
Features: An introduction and history of battered woman syndrome begins the book. Dr. Walker uses learned helplessness and attachment theory as the theoretical constructs to explain battered women. The cycle theory of violence is fully discussed as well as risk assessment, i.e. personality patterns of the batterer and predicting violence, integrating MacArthur variables, HCR-20 variables, and PCL-R variables. Other topics include sexuality issues, substance abuse, cross-cultural issues, and mental health needs. The book ends with a description of STEP (Survivor Therapy Empowerment Program), an evidence-based program for abused women. The tables and figures are extremely helpful in clarifying the text. This book is easy to read and does a nice job integrating theory and research.
Assessment: This is an excellent book, written by the foremost authority in the field. The book integrates theory, research, and practice quite nicely. The new edition is justified because of new research findings as well as the addition of information on culture and ethnicity.