Prof. Rachel Dekel – Male Intimate Partner Violence: Examining the Roles of Childhood Trauma, PTSD Symptoms, and Dominance



One approach to understanding perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV) by men focuses upon their childhood exposure to abuse or neglect as traumatic experiences, which may lead to PTSD symptoms; these symptoms can serve as risk factors for IPV perpetration. Another approach looks at the societal aspects of inequality between men and women as promoting male dominance over women and leading to IPV. The aim of the current study was to incorporate elements of each approach based on social learning theory through examining the role of dominance as a mediator between early childhood trauma, PTSD symptoms, and IPV perpetration severity. Participants consisted of 234 men drawn randomly from those receiving treatment at 66 domestic violence centers throughout Israel. They completed versions of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale for IPV and Conflict Tactics Scale Parent-Child for history of family exposure to violence and physical neglect, the International Trauma Questionnaire for PTSD, and the Dominance Scale. The results indicated an indirect association between physical neglect in childhood and psychological, physical IPV severity, via PTSD and dominance. The results suggest a more integrated way of conceptualizing trauma, PTSD, and power and control issues for the perpetration of IPV. In addition, they emphasize the need to develop trauma-informed interventions that focus on dominance alongside other important trauma-relevant core themes that increase risk for IPV.

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