Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Art

First Advisor

Marilyn Patterson

Second Advisor

Anita Sankar

Third Advisor

Pamela Nickels


The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a significant co-occurrence of domestic violence victimization among chemically dependent incarcerated females. Additional intents of this study were to examine the presence of domestic violence within the family of origin for this population. Further explorations of childhood trauma, such as physical abuse from parents or sexual abuse, were conducted. The study was conducted using 207 female inmates from a drug and alcohol treatment center located within a Mid-west penitentiary. Domestic violence was operationalized using selected subscale items from the Conflict Tactics Scale which measures type and frequency of violence between couples, between parents in the woman's family of origin~ and from the caregivers to the respondent as a child. The results indicated that there was an strong relationship between childhood sexual abuse and chemical dependency. Results indicated that there was no significant difference between chemically dependent and non-chemically dependent incarcerated females with regard to domestic violence victimization in present relationships. Approximately sixty-four percent of the chemically dependent subjects reported domestic violence victimization from a partner, a large enough percentage to call for further research. There was a significant relationship between witnessing minor and severe violence from the father to mother and chemical dependency. However, there was no significant relationship related to minor violence from mother to father and chemical dependency. With respect to severe violence from mother to father, there was a positive relationship to chemical dependency. Childhood experience of abuse from either parent was positively correlated to chemical dependency.