PTSD Symptoms Predict Outcome in Trauma-Informed Treatment of Intimate Partner Aggression

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Abstract

Objective: This study sought to extend findings from a randomized controlled trial of the Strength at Home Men’s Program (SAH-M) for intimate partner aggression (IPA) in military veterans by examining the impact of pretreatment posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms on treatment efficacy, and by examining new data on postintervention follow-up for individuals who received SAH-M after completing the enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU) wait-list control condition. Method: Using data from 125 male veterans who attended the SAH-M program immediately after an intake assessment or after waiting 6-month in the ETAU condition, this study used generalized linear modeling to examine predictors of physical and psychological IPA over a 9-month period of time. Results: PTSD symptoms at intake significantly predicted both physical and psychological IPA use, even after accounting for the effects of treatment condition, time, and number of sessions attended. PTSD had a strong association with both physical and psychological IPA. An interaction between PTSD and SAH-M was observed for psychological IPA but not physical IPA, and the magnitude of the effect was not clinically significant. There was a significant effect of SAH-M in reducing IPA in the full sample, including previously unanalyzed outcome data from the ETAU condition. Conclusion: The study results suggest that while SAH-M does not need to be modified to address the interaction between PTSD and treatment, outcomes could be enhanced through additional direct treatment of PTSD symptoms. Results extend prior analyses by demonstrating the effectiveness of SAH-M in reducing use of IPA in both the treatment and ETAU conditions.

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