Intimate Partner Violence and PTSD: The Moderating Role of Emotion-Focused Coping


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Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects millions of women every year, often resulting in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The strength of the relationship between IPV and PTSD has been shown to be affected by factors such as the amount of violence exposure and the style of coping in which the individual engages. For example, emotion-focused coping has been shown to be strongly related to IPV exposure and the expression of PTSD symptoms. This topic was explored in IPV survivors, with the finding that more frequent use of emotion-focused coping was associated with both higher violence exposure and heightened PTSD symptoms. Regression analyses revealed that emotion-focused coping moderated the relationship between IPV exposure and PTSD symptoms. More specifically, the results suggest that while individuals low on emotion-focused coping had fewer PTSD symptoms than women who frequently used emotion-focused coping, these individuals reported higher PTSD symptoms in the presence of frequent violence exposure. For individuals who frequently engaged in emotion-focused coping, violence exposure was less strongly associated with symptoms of PTSD.

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