As many as 1.5 million married women experience trauma within the context of intimate relationships each year in the U.S. (Tjaden &Thoennes, 2000). Women who experience violent interpersonal trauma develop depression and PTSD at 3 to 5 times the rate of non victims (Dutton et al., 2006). Violent interpersonal trauma is not confined to marriage;rather, it seems that patterns of violence are present during early stages of courtship (Vezina &Hebert, 2007) and, in many cases, persist as a relationship becomes more stable and long lasting (Roscoe &Benaske, 1985). Women who experience continuing trauma within an ongoing relationship are at even higher risk for psychopathology (Arata, 2002). Thus, emerging adulthood represents a critical window of opportunity in which to prevent future trauma and its concomitant psychopathology by disrupting early patterns of violence. The current proposal seeks to clarify the role that depression, posttraumatic stress and relationship investment play in emerging adult women's decisions to maintain or end a traumatic dating relationship, as well as the impact of this decision upon subsequent psychopathology. A longitudinal sample of 200 emerging adult women who currently report physical or sexual trauma from a dating partner will complete two assessments of their relationships, each of which will be administered electronically 12 months apart. Measures in the current study will assess women's depression, posttraumatic stress and relationship investment both as outcomes of experiencing interpersonal trauma and as predictors of subsequent relationship outcome, repeat victimization and psychopathology. Trauma within intimate relationships represents an enormous public health concern. Interpersonal trauma exerts a powerful influence both upon women's physical and psychological well-being, including higher rates of injury-related emergency room visits, psychopathology (e.g., depression and PTSD) and decreased occupational functioning (Campbell &Soeken, 1999). At last estimate, the annual cost of domestic violence in the United States was as high as $67 billion (1993 dollars) (Miller, Cohen &Wiersema, 1996). The current proposal seeks to address this public health concern by furthering our understanding of the mental health and interpersonal factors involved in ending violent relationships and identifying targets for early-intervention with the goal of preventing future trauma and psychopathology.
|Young, Brennan J; Furman, Wyndol (2013) Predicting commitment in young adults' physically aggressive and sexually coercive dating relationships. J Interpers Violence 28:3245-64|