Changing community responses to wife abuse: A research and demonstration project in Iztacalco, Mexico

Gillian M. Fawcett, Lori L. Heise, Leticia Isita-Espejel, Susan Pick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This article describes the process of designing a multifaceted, community-based intervention to change community responses to wife abuse in Iztacalco, a low-income community on the outskirts of Mexico City. The goal of the intervention is to encourage women to recognize and disclose abuse and to encourage more constructive, less victim-blaming attitudes among family members, friends, and the community at large. The intervention is based on the belief that the response that a woman first gets upon disclosing her situation will be critical in setting the course of her future actions. The intervention includes small-scale media (e.g., buttons, posters, events) and a 12-session workshop to train women as community change agents. The design is based on insights derived from formative research and from the transtheoretical model of behavior change as elaborated by J. O. Prochaska and C. C. DiClemente (1982) and adapted to the special case of domestic violence by J. Brown (1997). The article also illustrates the utility of adapting popular education techniques to the research setting in order facilitate more honest disclosure of prevailing norms and attitudes about abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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