Date of Conferral







Georita Frierson


Domestic violence (DV) affects over 80,000 million individuals a year in the United States. DV survivors who do not use mental health services are often revictimized or pass on patterns of abuse and unhealthy behaviors of DV to future generations. However, research on factors that inhibit DV survivors from seeking mental health care is limited. Using the behavioral model of health services use, which helps predict health services use by identifying predisposing, enabling, and need factors, this study investigated which predisposing, enabling, and need factors predict the utilization of mental health services by DV survivors who were emotionally abused. In this quantitative study, 152 DV survivors of emotional abuse were recruited and surveyed through social media and DV shelters located in California. Binary logistic regression analysis and chi-square testing were applied to find the factors—predisposing (i.e., gender and race), enabling (health insurance and yearly income), and need (functional impairment)—that predict the use of mental health services among DV survivors of emotional abuse. Predisposing factors of gender and ethnicity did statistically predict mental health service use; Caucasian individuals were more likely to use mental health services than Hispanic or Asian individuals and women were more likely to use mental health services than men. Enabling factors of possession of health insurance and annual income and need factor of functional impairment did not statistically predict mental health service use. The results can help mental health care providers reach DV survivors of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, decrease the risk of revictimization, and more effectively address mental health problems caused by emotional abuse.