Perceived Risk and Behavioral Intentions

One persistent question in the area of risk perception is whether perceived risk predicts behavioral change. In this research we investigated women’s risk assessments for intimate partner violence and the potential behavioral consequences of victim risk perception (Harding & Helweg-Larsen, 2009). Results from a survey of women in a domestic violence shelter (N = 56) indicated that women perceived lower risk of future violence if the abusive relationship were to end and higher risk of violence if it were to continue. Certain abuse experiences were related to elevated perceptions of personal risk for future violence. Further, perceived personal risk predicted the women’s intention to terminate their relationship upon leaving shelter. These results may inform interventions preventing intimate partner violence.