Factors Influencing Safety Efficacy: Examining Past Experience, Mind-Set, and Emotion Management

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5 Scopus citations


Safety efficacy, or the perceived capability of preventing or deterring a personal safety threat, has emerged as a potentially important construct in personal safety outcomes. However, there has been limited research on factors that may facilitate or inhibit safety efficacy. The overall goal of this study was to examine indices of past history, mind-set, and emotion regulation associated with safety efficacy as informed by the self-efficacy literature. This study used a national sample of 821 women who completed a survey on personal safety concerns and responses. There were four main findings from this study: (a) although victimization experiences in this study were high, there were no differences in past or recent victimization experiences by safety efficacy group; (b) responding passively and feeling uncomfortable and nervous in interpersonal conflict situations were significantly associated with lower safety efficacy; (c) those with lower safety efficacy felt less confident in protecting themselves, were less likely to feel they could affect the outcome of external events, were less likely to seek information about their personal safety, and were more likely to feel personal characteristics increased their risk of victimization; and (d) discomfort when thinking about personal safety as well as emotion regulation problems were negatively associated with safety efficacy, yet have received limited research attention with regard to their role in personal safety outcomes. More research is needed to build on the success of various interventions that have shown evidence of increased safety efficacy and decreased revictimization as well as to reach women who may actively avoid prevention programs because they are not comfortable thinking about their safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5011-5035
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author would like to thank the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky for funding this research. The author would also like to thank Jaime Miller for help with the data collection and Robert Walker for reading and commenting on an early version of this article. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • domestic violence
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • violence exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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