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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Trimble, Joseph E.

Second Advisor

Bedi, Robinder P.

Third Advisor

Jack, Dana Crowley

Fourth Advisor

Lehman, Barbara J.


Silencing the self theory predicts that women in oppressive relationships tend to experience loss of self through self-silencing, and are therefore more prone to depression. Past studies have found that both abuse and immigration are associated with higher levels of self-silencing and depression. The current study investigated the psychometric properties of the Silencing the Self Scale (STSS) and the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDIII), as well as the validity of the STSS subscales for a specific cultural population. Fifty-five Punjabi women completed the STSS, the BDI-II, and participated in in-depth focus groups for a mixed methods approach to a culturally sensitive exploration of self-silencing and depression. Though Rasch Scale analysis, the study identified the misfit items for both the STSS and BDI-II for this population. Additionally, misfit items and unexpected performance of the scales according to the Rasch Model's expectations are explained by the rich qualitative data to give insight to cultural norms that may cause differential scale performance. The study identified the STSS to be very culturally appropriate for the examination for loss of self for these women, and positively associated STSS scores with higher BDI-II scores as past literature has shown. By adapting a cultural focus, the study also shows how specific Punjabi cultural norms and values in a Western country impact the expression and development of self-silencing and depression. Finally, by illuminating the cultural specificities within these domains, the study sheds light on the culturally specific obstacles that entrap these women in abusive relationships.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Depression in women--Cross-cultural studies; Women, East Indian--Mental health; Family violence--Psychological aspects




masters theses




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