Haitian women and domestic violence: an assessment of the influnce of the mother-daughter relationship
Lamothe-Francois, Marie B.
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The current study uses a structured survey with a sample of 97 Haitian women who are or have been involved in violent domestic relationships, to examine the impact of the daughters? levels of differentiation from their mothers, cultural expectations, religious beliefs, and other potential intervening variables that may mediate the decision to stay or leave the abuser. Analyses were conducted to ascertain whether characteristics of the mother-daughter relationship, level of individuation/fusion, culture, and/or religion plays a significant role in the women?s decision making process. It was hypothesized that daughter?s decisions regarding the relationship would be highly influenced by the type of relationship that they have with their mothers, hence, influencing them to remain or leave the perpetrator. Findings from the current study supported the second hypothesis that there would be a significant negative correlation between the degree of differentiation of a daughter from her mother and the likelihood of leaving an abusive relationship. Correlations were performed with the Personal Authority in the Family Systems Questionnaire and the Differentiation of Self Inventory and the findings from the tests revealed that women who obtained higher scores on the DSI were less likely to remain with their abusers. Furthermore, when the PAFS and the DSI were combined, they were a significant predictor of the outcome. Additionally, the hypothesis that women who are highly influenced by cultural factors will be more likely to stay in an abusive relationship than women who are not highly influenced by such factors, was not conclusive. There was no relationship between adhering to cultural beliefs and the decision regarding an abusive relationship. Findings regarding the influence of the women?s religious on their decision regarding the abusive relationship were also inconclusive. The discussion and conclusions focus on the clinical significance of the study?s findings. Implications for treatment with this population, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are also addressed.