The role of posttraumatic stress symptoms and negative affect in predicting substantiated intimate partner violence incidents among military personnel
Stander, V. A., Woodall, K. A., Richardson, S. M., Thomsen, C. J., Milner, J. S., McCarroll, J. E., Riggs, D. S., & Cozza, S. J. (2021). The role of posttraumatic stress symptoms and negative affect in predicting substantiated intimate partner violence incidents among military personnel. Military Behavioral Health. 9(4), 442-462. https://doi.org/10.1080/21635781.2021.1953644
Abstract Created by REACH:
This study examined the extent to which posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms and comorbid physical and mental health conditions (i.e., conditions that may exist alongside PTSD) exacerbate the risk of intimate partner violence (IPV; physical or psychological abuse) perpetration. Using a sample of 54,667 active-duty Service members, several risk factors of IPV perpetration were examined simultaneously including: PTSD symptom clusters (i.e., hyperarousal, avoidance/numbing, reexperiencing), alcohol dependence, difficulty concentrating, sleep quality, anger/irritability, and history of perpetration. PTSD symptoms reflecting negative affect (e.g., numbing, sleep disturbance, irritability) and comorbid conditions (i.e., alcohol dependence) were more strongly related to incidences of IPV perpetration than trauma-specific PTSD symptoms (e.g., hyperarousal and reexperiencing).
Branch of Service:
Active duty service member
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)
Stander, Valerie A., Woodall, Kelly A., Richardson, Sabrina M., Thomsen, Cynthia J., Milner, Joel S., McCarroll, James E., Riggs, David S., Cozza, Stephen J.
Increasing rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military populations during recent conflicts have sparked concerns regarding the incidence of other commonly associated problems, such as intimate partner violence (IPV). From a clinical perspective, it is important to understand patterns of PTSD symptomology that may indicate heightened risk for such aggression. To address this, among a longitudinal cohort of U.S. military personnel, we evaluated the association of PTSD symptom clusters and comorbid conditions as predictors of any subsequent Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program incidents of IPV meeting full definitional criteria for physical or psychological abuse. Results suggested that general symptoms of negative affect common in PTSD (e.g., anger/irritability, sleep disruption) and comorbid alcohol dependence were stronger predictors of IPV than trauma-specific PTSD symptomology (e.g., reexperiencing, hypervigilance). Clinical implications and recommendations for future research are discussed.
Taylor & Francis
DoD Center for Deployment Health, Naval Health Research Center, VAS
DoD Center for Deployment Health, Naval Health Research Center, KAW
Military and Veterans Health Solutions, Leidos, KAW
DoD Center for Deployment Health, Naval Health Research Center, SMR
Military and Veterans Health Solutions, Leidos, SMR
DoD Center for Deployment Health, Naval Health Research Center, CJT
Center for the Study of Family Violence and Sexual Assault, Northern Illinois University, JSM
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, JEM
Medical and Clinical Psychology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, DSR
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, SJC
comorbidity, intimate partner violence, military personnel, negative affect, post traumatic stress
REACH Publication Type:
Report No. 20-060 was supported by the Joint Program Committee-5, Defense Health Program, U.S. Defense Health Agency, under Work Unit No. 60002.