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Evaluation Outcomes of Self-Defense Training for Women: A Review

NCJ Number
Aggression and Violent Behavior Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Dated: January-February 2008 Pages: 60-76
Leanne R. Brecklin
Date Published
January 2008
17 pages
This paper examines 20 quantitative studies that assessed the effects of self-defense training on female participants.
The following 8 dependent variables were examined in the review of the 20 quantitative evaluations: assertiveness, self-esteem, anxiety, perceived control, fear of sexual assault, self-efficacy, physical competence, and avoidance behaviors. The review found that: 1) any effect of self-defense training on levels of assertiveness may be short-lived; 2) while it appears that self-defense training may increase the self-esteem of participants, more research is needed on this issue; 3) it appears that anxiety may be reduced by participation in self-defense training , possibly even in the long-term; 4) it appears that the majority of self-defense program evaluations found that training was related to increases in perceived control and decreases in helplessness of the participants; 5) the majority of the studies demonstrated that females were less fearful immediately after training participation; 6) after self-defense training, women increased their confidence in their ability to respond to an assault, which may increase the chances that they will successfully defend themselves against an attack; 7) the majority of women who took self-defense training appeared to have stronger self-defense skills and felt more physically competent; and 8) women with self-defense training may engage in fewer avoidance behaviors and more participatory behaviors thus restricting their freedom of movement less than women without training. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed. Table, references