Lay persons' versus psychologists' judgments of psychologically aggressive actions by a husband and wife

Diane R. Follingstad, Cynthia M. Helff, Robin V. Binford, Margaret M. Runge, Jeffrey D. White

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Literature assessing knowledge of and attitudes toward social issues has demonstrated that mental health professionals and lay persons often differ greatly. To add to the normative information in the field of psychological abuse and to determine whether the differences previously found between mental health professionals and lay persons extend to this field, a sample from each group rated psychologically aggressive items by a husband toward his wife. For the 102 items, psychologists were more likely to label the behaviors as "psychological abuse," but this tendency was due to psychologists considering the behaviors as either "always" or "possibly" abusive, whereas lay persons demonstrated a bimodal response pattern of rating the behaviors as "always" or "never" psychological abuse. Lay persons were much more likely than psychologists to rate items high in terms of severity level, however. The two groups used different contextual factors for determining that a behavior was psychological abuse when they initially were uncertain that it was abusive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)916-942
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume19
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2004

Keywords

  • Lay persons' perceptions
  • Marital aggression
  • Psychological abuse
  • Psychologists' judgments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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