Intimate Partner Abuse and PTSD Symptomatology: Examining Mediators and Moderators of the Abuse-Trauma Link

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Abstract

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked to intimate partner abuse, physiological reactivity, and social support. The authors used structural equation modeling to test social support as a moderator and psychophysiological reactivity and anger as mediators of the relation between abuse and traumatic symptoms among a sample of women reporting psychological abuse, including women reporting both physical violence and no physical violence. Both physical and psychological abuse were related to PTSD symptoms. Whereas physical and psychological abuse were highly correlated, psychological abuse did not predict PTSD symptomatology over and above the effect due to physical assault. Psychophysiological reactivity and anger and fear displayed during an argument with the partner did not mediate the abuse-trauma link. Social support moderated the relation between psychological abuse and PTSD symptomatology.

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