Effects of religious and spiritual variables on outcomes in violent relationships

David Katerndahl, Sandra Burge, Robert Ferrer, Johanna Becho, Robert Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Religious and spiritual factors in intimate partner violence have received increasing attention. But are such factors related to outcomes in violent relationships? The purpose of this study was to assess the relative impact of spiritual symptoms and religious coping on attitudinal/behavioral and clinical outcomes among women in violent relationships. Methods: Adult women with a recent history of husband-to-wife physical abuse were recruited from six primary care clinics. Once enrolled, 200 subjects completed a baseline interview and daily assessment of level of violence, using the Interactive Verbal Response for 12 weeks. At the completion of the study, contact with each participant was attempted to determine whether she had either sought professional help or left the relationship. Three religious/spiritual variables were assessed at baseline - number of visits to a religious/spiritual counselor, religious coping, and severity of spiritual symptoms. Stepped multiple linear regression was used to explain factoranalyzed outcomes (coping and appraisals, hope and support, symptomatology, functional status, readiness for change, and medical utilization), adjusting for demographic, marital, childhood, mental health, and violence variables. Results: After controlling for duration, severity and dynamics of violence, the use of spiritual resources, and the level of spiritual symptoms were associated with most attitudinal/behavioral and clinical outcomes, while religious coping was only associated with staying in the relationship. Conclusions: Religious and spiritual factors were associated with most outcomes. Spiritual symptoms had a consistently negative effect on outcomes while use of spiritual resources had variable effects. Religious coping was only associated with refraining from leaving the relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-263
Number of pages15
JournalInternational journal of psychiatry in medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2015


  • Battered women
  • Coping
  • Domestic violence
  • Functional status
  • Religion
  • Spirituality
  • Symptomatology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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