Prof. Rachel Dekel – The role of complex posttraumatic stress symptoms in the association between exposure to traumatic events and severity of intimate partner violence

Prof.-Rachel-Dekel

Abstract

Background

Symptoms of both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and disturbances in self-organization (DSO) have been suggested to play a role in the association between an individual’s childhood physical abuse and neglect and his/her perpetration of IPV in adulthood; however, the two have yet to be studied in one model. Thus, we aimed to examine the interrelations among childhood exposure to violence and physical neglect, exposure to trauma across one’s lifetime, ICD-11 CPTSD symptoms (i.e., PTSD and DSO), and IPV severity.

Methods

Participants were 234 men drawn randomly from a national sample of 1600 mandated men receiving treatment for domestic violence in Israel. They completed measures of potentially traumatic exposure, symptoms of CPTSD, child abuse and neglect, and IPV. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine possible direct and indirect effects of the study variables.

Results

Results confirmed the indirect role of CPTSD symptoms in the association between the following types of traumatic exposure – childhood exposure to violence (B = .03, β = .05, SE = .01, p = .05, CI 90% [.041, .143]), childhood exposure to physical neglect (B = .04, β = .04, SE = .02, p < .01, CI 90% [.014, .092]), and lifetime exposure to potentially traumatic events, or PTEs (B = .04, β = .09, SE = .01, p < .001, CI 90% [.006, .074]) – and the perpetration of psychological IPV as an adult. No significant results were found in relation to the perpetration of physical IPV.

Conclusions

The current cross-sectional study findings suggest a preliminary direction regarding the possible direct and indirect effects of ICD-11CPTSD on the severity of IPV psychological perpetration. The clinical implications include the need to focus on both PTSD and DSO symptoms in order to help reduce these potential risk factors for psychological IPV perpetration.

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