Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



School of Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Gale Horton


This study examined whether the relationship between the level of self-esteem and a woman’s decision to leave an abusive relationship was significant. This study was based on the idea that a woman’s decision to leave the abusive relationship was due to having a relatively high level of self-esteem. A self-esteem questionnaire was distributed to two Atlanta area domestic violence shelters. These questionnaires were administered by the researcher and/or shelter staff. The researcher found that there was no significant difference between the decision to leave an abusive relationship and the level of self-esteem. In fact, the majority of the levels of self-esteem were borderline as to whether there was the presence of a problem with self-esteem. The conclusions drawn from this study pointed to a need for more longitudinal studies, the need for more clear conceptual models, large scale data bases, and reliable instrumentation. The results of this study suggests that the level of self-esteem is not significant to a woman’s decision to leave an abusive relationship.