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The Link Between Trauma Exposure and Intimate Partner Violence

Social Information Processing and IPV

There is a wealth of research demonstrating a significant link between trauma exposure and the use of intimate partner vio-lence (IPV) and emotional abuse in relationships (e.g., Delsol and Margolin 2004; Maguire et al. 2015; Taft et al. 2008).Traumatic experiences may disrupt one’s core cognitive schemas, increasing mistrust in other people, reducing self-esteem, and increasing the desire for control over events and people that can produce negative emotions (Taft et al. 2016a).These reactions to trauma are thought to increase risk for IPV use via changes in social information processing, whereby a person is more likely to interpret a partner’s intentions as hostile and threatening, and is then more likely to escalate conflict in response (Taft et al. 2016a, b).

In addition,experiencing certain types of trauma such as witnessing inter-parental abuse appears to increase risk for IPV use by lowering one’s ability to generate and properly evaluate help-ful, non-aggressive responses to conflict (Fite et al. 2008). A  ecent clinical trial with veterans supported the efficacy of a trauma-informed IPV intervention in reducing abuse perpetra-tion (Taft et al. 2016b). Research has indicated that civilian clinical samples of men who use IPValso report high rates of trauma (Maguire et al. 2015; Semiatin et al. 2017), and their experience of PTSD predicts greater violence recidivism after treatment (Miles-McLean et al. 2018).

These studies suggest that trauma-informed services may also be clinically indicated for civilians who engage in IPV.Trauma-informed services refer to an organizational cultur l that recognizes the impact of trauma on the population being served, promotes empathic and supportive practices, seeks to avoid re-traumatizing clients, and may also include trauma-

(APTEs) had influenced the way that they think, act, or feel in relationships. A number of important research questions can be addressed through this approach. First, gauging the proportion of clients that recognize the connection between trauma and their relationships may be useful for better under- standing the need for psychoeducation regarding trauma and relationships, barriers to implementing trauma-informed ser- vices, and the potential value of trauma-informed work to enhance client engagement and motivation to change. Although the absence of such recognition does not necessarily mean that trauma has not influenced the client, positive en- dorsement may be relevant to the client’s buy-in for treatment sessions focused on the effects of trauma on relationships.

It is also fruitful to investigate whether clients are especially likely to recognize certain types of APTEs as influencing their rela-tionships, as the range of APTEs that civilian clients recognize as problematic for their relationships is currently unclear.A broad range of different types of APTEs may influence social information processing to negatively affect relation-ships. However, much of the research on trauma reactions has been guided by the stricter definition of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Criterion A, which specifies the re- quirement of Bexposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence^(American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013, p. 271). Researchers have argued that the study of trauma should not be restricted to PTSD Criterion A (for a fuller discussion of this, see Weathers and Keane 2007).

1. The reading looks at the value in using trauma-informed screening when working with men who engage in interpersonal violence. One  result was that 25% of participants acknowledged that an APTE influenced and justified their use of abuse in their current relationship.  But there were limitations to this study. Identify one limitation about the study or about using this trauma-informed approach if working with male perpetrators.
2. After listening to the lecture/video, how would you explain that staying in a shelter can be a crisis for someone who has left an abusive relationship? [3-4 sentences]
3. After listening to the lecture/video, what do you think about the dating violence at MRU statistics? Is anything surprising or expected? What could be done to change things?

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