Essay about Battered Women Syndrome

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Battered Woman Syndrome
In Robert Agnew's general strain theory, he talks about how strain and stress could cause an individual to commit crimes that they wouldn't have committed without those circumstances. In his theory, he refers to negative affective states, which are the "anger, frustration, and adverse emotions that emerge in the wake of destructive social relationships". It is these negative affective states that are produced by strain. Agnew acknowledges that strain can be caused by negative situations, such as abuse or neglect, family conflict, or stressful life events. These situations can all be found to be extremely prevalent in households where domestic violence occurs. According to
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Because battered woman syndrome is considered to be in the same category as PTSD, it does not have it's own classification in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-third edition, also known as the DSM-III. Instead it is just classified along with post-traumatic stress disorder. The American Psychiatric Association gives five criteria for the diagnosis of PTSD using the DSM system,
"1. presence of a stressor that could cause a traumatic response (battering)
2.     symptoms lasting for more than one month
3.     measurable cognitive and memory changes
4.     at least three measurable avoidance symptoms
5.     at least two measurable arousal symptoms" (Gelles 138).
These five criterions are what doctors in the psychiatric field use to diagnose a woman with battered woman syndrome.
In some cases, a doctor's diagnosis comes into play in the courtroom. In most cases a doctor's testimony is used to give an idea about the woman's state of mind when she committed the crime she is on trial for. An example would be when a battered woman commits a crime against her spouse, and claims that her husbands abuse was what caused her to

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