Cohort, Period, and Aging Effects A Qualitative Study of Older Women’s Reasons for Remaining in Abusive Relationships

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To understand women’s reasons for continuing long-term abusive relationships, inter-views were conducted with 36 women who were over the age of 55. These women matured during times of sweeping social changes with the feminist, battered women’s, and elder abuse movements. Reasons for remaining were organized into three categories: cohort, period, and aging effects. Cohort effects included reasons similar to those of younger women such as lacking education or job skills. Period effects related to efforts to seek help early in the abusive relationship and receiving little assistance from society’s social institutions. Finally, aging effects dealt with how the health challenges of physical age limited options.