Factors affecting a woman's decision to leave an abusive relationship : the theory of planned behaviour /
Scott, Pamela E.
MetadataShow full item record
The present study tested the appHcabiUty of Ajzen's (1985) theory of planned behaviour (TPB), an extension of Fishbein and Ajzen's (1975) theory of reasoned action (TRA), for the first time, in the context of abused women's decision to leave their abusive relationships. The TPB, as a means of predicting women's decision to leave their abusive partners' was drawn from Strube's (1988, 1991) proposed decision-making model based on the principle that the decision-making process is a rational, deliberative process, and regardless of outcome, was a result of a logical assessment of the available data. As a means of predicting those behaviours not under volitional control, Ajzen's (1985) TPB incorporated a measure of perceived behavioural control. Data were collected in two phases, ranging from 6 months to 1 year apart. It was hypothesized that, to the extent that an abused woman held positive attitudes, subjective norms conducive to leaving, and perceived control over leaving, she would form an intention to leave and thus, increase the likelihood of actually leaving her partner. Furthermore, it was expected that perceptions of control would predict leaving behaviour over and above attitude and subjective norm. In addition, severity and frequency of abuse were assessed, as were demographic variables. The TPB failed to account significantly for variability in either intentions or leaving behaviour. All of the variance was attributed to those variables associated with the theory of reasoned action, with social influence emerging as the strongest predictor of a woman's intentions. The poor performance of this model is attributed to measurement problems with aspects of attitude and perceived control, as well as a lack of power due to the small sample size. The insufficiency of perceived control to predict behaviour also suggests that, on the surface at least, other factors may be at work in this context. Implications of these results, and recommendations such as, the importance of obtaining representative samples, the inclusion of self-esteem and emotions as predictor variables in this model, a reevaluation of the target behaviovu" as nonvolitional, and longitudinal studies spanning a longer time period for future research within the context of decision-making are discussed.