Mental Health: Global Challenges of XXI Century
Psychological Factors of the Formation of Victimization of Women in the Modern World

(Vakulich Tetyana)

PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Kyiv, Ukraine

Introduction. Nowadays, violence and abuse in the family is a serious and common issue. Sociological studies revealed that 97% (Christmas, 2008) of victims of family violence are women; women are 6 times more likely to fall a victim to crimes committed by the closed ones. The consequences of family violence are in the second place in the list of risk factors for mental health of a woman (after the consequences of sexual violence). The modern society has the following situation: 50% of women are falling victims to various forms of abasement and abuse and more than 20% of women experience violence on a regular basis (Zanarini, 2009). The consequences of the formation of victimization of women in the modern world in the context of social change are crucial and urgent. Hence, the purpose of the article was to theorize and test with experiment psychological mechanisms, factors and conditions of the formation of victimization of women.

Methodology. The purpose of the study required a complex of methods of empirical study to be applied. To study the personality of a woman, the following psychodiagnostic procedures have been applied: a scale of the forms of abusive behavior in a couple (specially created to study the level and forms of family violence) (I.A. Hrabska, O.D. Shynkarenko, 1999); a method of codependency diagnosing B. Weinhold; subjective scaling of self-esteem and a questionnaire for the disorders diagnostics M.Yu. Samosti, Shalneva; 16- PF questionnaire of R. Kettle; to analyze the genesis of codependent relationships associated with infantile traumatism and specifics of socialization – projective techniques: analysis of early memories (W.R. Rule) and ‘enchanted family’ (M. Kos, G. Biermann); a scale of differential emotions of K. Izard and ACL scale to study the defensive self-conception of personality (H.G.Gough and A.B.Heilbrun, 1965); projective techniques Hand-Test (Hand Test) to study the deep personal attributes and trends (E. Wagner, S. Piotrovsky, 1962); a questionnaire of the retrospective assessment of parents-child interaction; unstructured diagnostic interview. The study sample included 273 women. The group of interest included 134 women (women experiencing violence and abuse), the control group included 139 women (women who are not experiencing violence and abuse). The samples are coincided according to age and education.

Results, Discussion and Conclusions. Having studied the level of understanding by victimized women of their own feelings it is possible to conclude that women experiencing abuse: have disorders of affective functions in the form of misunderstanding or altered perception of their own feelings 78%. They have disorders of cognitive functions in the form of misunderstanding or rationalization of own behavior, behavior of the people around and the situation: victimized women do not understand the danger impending over them, and they tend to percept the physical abuse as proof of masculinity (62%). Possible nervous breakdowns tend to be perceived as form of rudeness. Own aggressive actions being unconsciously motivated by the feeling of fear – as evidence of own dominance, overthinking of the problematic situation – as carefulness (46%). They tend to have altered self-perception and low self-esteem due to the transfer of the attitudes of an abuser to themselves (52%): self-assessment as inimical person who is incapable of sympathy, a feeling of inability to get along with others. Acceptance of assessments of other people as true characteristics is a sign of the indeterminate boundaries of the ego of an abused women (43%). Thus, it is possible to make a conclusion that the mental state of victimized women falling victims to family violence tends to have a low level of emotional control and self-confidence, low self-esteem, high level of anxiety, uncritical thinking, abnormality of the process of self-identification, lack of the ability to be assertive, feeling of guilt and shame, high conformity, low activity, fit of anger and aggression.

Practical\social value. It is possible to use the results of the study in the course of preparation of the programs ‘Psychological work with women who have been fallen victims to family violence’, ‘Basics of psychological work with women having behavior of a victim’ in the work of crisis centers and social and psychological rehabilitation centers.

Keywords: mental health, social development, family abuse, children abuse, victim, aggressor, learned helplessness, family system theory.


1. Christmas, D. (2008) Synopsis of Causation: Personality Disorder, Ministry of Defence, 1–24.

2. Zanarini, M.C. (2009) Psychotherapy of Borderline Personality Disorder. PubMed Central. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 120(5), 1–8.

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