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J Trauma Stress. 2012 Apr;25(2):179-86. doi: 10.1002/jts.21676.

PTSD symptoms as risk factors for intimate partner violence revictimization and the mediating role of victims' violent behavior.

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Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology, Leiden Law School, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Apart from being a consequence of intimate partner violence (IPV), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can also be a risk factor for IPV revictimization. The current study examined how each of 4 PTSD symptom clusters (reexperiencing, arousal, avoidance, and numbing) related to revictimization in a sample of 156 female help-seeking victims of IPV, recruited from various victim support services in the Netherlands. In addition, we hypothesized that victim-perpetrated IPV would mediate the relation between PTSD symptomatology and IPV revictimization. Our results show that victims' PTSD reexperiencing symptoms predict revictimization of partner violence (d = .45 for physical IPV revictimization; d = .35 for psychological IPV revictimization); the other 3 PTSD symptom clusters were not related to IPV revictimization. Furthermore, victim-perpetrated psychological IPV was found to partially mediate the relation between victims' PTSD reexperiencing symptoms and IPV revictimization (Z = 2.339, SE = 0.044, p = .019 for physical IPV revictimization, and Z = 2.197, SE = 0.038, p = .028 for psychological IPV revictimization). Findings indicate that IPV victims with higher levels of PTSD reexperiencing symptoms may be more likely to perpetrate psychological IPV themselves, which may put them at greater risk for receiving IPV in return. Based on these results, a focus on individual PTSD symptom clusters and victim behaviors seems relevant for practice and may contribute to a decrease in victims' risk for future IPV.

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