World Assumptions, Religiosity, and PTSD in Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is among the most frequent types of violence annually affecting women. One frequent outcome of violence exposure is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The theory of shattered world assumptions represents one possible explanation for adverse mental health outcomes following trauma, contending that trauma disintegrates individuals’ core assumptions that the world is safe and meaningful, and that the self is worthy. Research that explores world assumptions in relationship to survivors of IPV has remained absent. A more consistent finding in research on IPV suggests that religiosity is strongly associated with survivors’ reactions to, and recovery from, IPV. The present study found that world assumptions was a significant mediator of the relationship between IPV exposure and PTSD symptoms. Religiosity was also significantly, positively related to PTSD symptoms, but was not significantly related to amount of IPV exposure. Though African American women reported more IPV exposure and greater religiosity than European American women in the sample, there were no interethnic differences in PTSD symptom endorsement. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication Title

Violence Against Women