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Intimate Partner Aggression-related Shame and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: The Moderating Role of Substance Use Problems

NCJ Number
252443
Author(s)
Nicole H. Weiss; Aaron A. Duke; Nicole M. Overstreet; Suzanne C. Swan; Tami P. Sullivan
Date Published
2016
Length
14 pages
Annotation
This study examined whether women's shame concerning their use of intimate partner aggression is associated with their PTSD symptoms, and whether drug and alcohol use problems moderate this association.
Abstract
A dearth of literature has examined the consequences of women's use of aggression in intimate relationships. Women's use of aggression against their intimate partners, regardless of their motivation (e.g., self-defense, retaliation), may elicit shame. Shame, in turn, may contribute to the maintenance and/or exacerbation of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, which are commonly experienced in this population. Further, emerging research suggests that emotionally avoidant coping strategies, such as substance use, may strengthen the relation between shame and PTSD symptoms. The goal of the present study was to examine whether women's shame concerning their use of intimate partner aggression is associated with their PTSD symptoms, and whether drug and alcohol use problems moderate this association. Participants were 369 community women who had used and been victimized by physical aggression in an intimate relationship with a male partner in the past six months. The intimate partner aggression-related shame drug (but not alcohol) use problems interaction on PTSD symptom severity was significant. Analysis of simple slopes revealed that women's intimate partner aggression-related shame was positively associated with their PTSD symptoms when drug use problems were high, but not when drug use problems were low. Findings have implications for the potential utility of PTSD treatments targeting a reduction in shame and maladaptive shame regulation strategies (i.e., drug use) in this population. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Created: July 20, 2021