Additional adverse events among women exposed to intimate partner violence: Frequency and impact


Objective: To assess additional adverse life events that women exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) may have endured and to ascertain whether, and in what ways, problems in adjustment are related more to IPV or to IPV plus other adverse life events. Method: Predictors of the effects of exposure to adversities were investigated in this study of 104 women exposed to severe IPV who reported conflict tactics, adverse life events, as well as symptoms of distress. Results: The majority of participants experienced additional adversities (86). Significant differences were found between those exposed to IPV-only and those exposed to IPV plus other adverse events in terms of IPV frequency and current symptoms of distress. Women with IPV plus other adverse events had twice as many physical assaults and 4 times as many sexual assaults from an intimate partner compared to IPV-only women. The number of adverse events contributed significantly to variance in trauma symptoms over and above that of exposure to IPV alone. Women exposed to additional events had approximately twice as many avoidance and physiological arousal symptoms as IPV-only women. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest a variety of implications for IPV treatment and interventions. Specifically, the role that additional interpersonal violence, especially sexual violence, plays in the expression of distress may relate to the type of service offered to the survivor. © 2011 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Psychology of Violence