Minimizing negative experiences: Women's disclosure of partner abuse
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Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Women who have experienced abuse in intimate relationships often omit information about the abuse when disclosing to others. Data describing this phenomenon have been anecdotal and concerned only with disclosures to clinicians and social scientists. This study documented the prevalence of minimization in disclosures to friends and relatives and explored factors that might predict minimization. The results revealed that 36.1% of women who disclosed abuse to friends and relatives omitted information. A stepwise logistic regression indicated increased severity of abuse, more accepting attitudes toward physical abuse, and delayed disclosure were each positively associated with minimization. We tentatively suggest that this phenomenon can be viewed as an attempt to manage confidants' reactions to disclosure of abuse and enhance the likelihood of social support. Whether providing an incomplete picture of the situation serves to facilitate or undermine the quality of social support received is an empirical question that must be explored.
Dunham, Katherine and Senn, Charlene Y.. (2000). Minimizing negative experiences: Women's disclosure of partner abuse. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 15 (3), 251-261.