Empowerment, Stress, and Depressive Symptoms Among Female Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence Attending Personal Empowerment Programs

Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2019, Forthcoming

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2019-61

35 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2020

See all articles by Esmeralda R. Garcia

Esmeralda R. Garcia

Department of Psychological Science

Jane K. Stoever

University of California, Irvine School of Law

Peiyi Wang

Department of Psychological Science

Ilona Yim

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior

Date Written: November 21, 2019

Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects one in three women and can have long-lasting psychological effects, with abuse survivors typically exhibiting elevated stress and depressive symptoms. However, women with greater personal empowerment resources (i.e., self-care, agency, self-efficacy) and who practice relaxation techniques generally exhibit lower stress and depressive symptoms. The present study investigated the effectiveness of Personal Empowerment Programs (PEP) and practicing relaxation techniques in promoting empowerment and lowering stress and depressive symptoms. Ninety women were recruited from PEP classes conducted at domestic violence agencies in Orange County, California. Salivary cortisol and affect were assessed before and after one PEP class. Perceived stress, depressive symptoms, empowerment, and relaxation techniques were also assessed. Practicing relaxation techniques correlated with more empowerment. For women without sexual abuse experiences only, having completed more classes (>5 classes) in the program was associated with greater empowerment, less stress, and fewer depressive symptoms. Implications extend to future studies and interventions for IPV survivors.

Keywords: empowerment, stress, depressive symptoms, intimate partner violence

Suggested Citation

Garcia, Esmeralda and Stoever, Jane K. and Wang, Peiyi and Yim, Ilona, Empowerment, Stress, and Depressive Symptoms Among Female Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence Attending Personal Empowerment Programs (November 21, 2019). Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2019, Forthcoming, UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2019-61, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3491492 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3491492

Esmeralda Garcia

Department of Psychological Science ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

Jane K. Stoever

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Irvine, CA 92697-8000
United States
949-824-3418 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uci.edu

Peiyi Wang

Department of Psychological Science ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

Ilona Yim (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

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