Patterns and Perceptions of Intimate Partner Violence Committed by Returning Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Finley, E. P., Baker, M., Pugh, M. J., & Peterson, A. L.
Aug 13, 2010

Journal of Family Violence, 25, 737-743.

Data from a recent mixed-methods study conducted among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) raise important questions regarding the occurrence of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in this population. Three case studies illustrate two main findings. First, Veterans and family members participating in the study described three patterns of partner violence—violence committed in anger; dissociative violence; and parasomniac/hypnopompic violence—suggesting that distinct patterns of IPV may emerge in relation to PTSD symptoms. Second, participants’ descriptions suggest that common ideas about PTSD and war-related suffering can play an important role in influencing how Veterans and their partners respond to episodes of partner violence. It is important for those providing care to PTSD-diagnosed Veterans and their partners to understand when and how partner violence may occur, and how both parties may perceive and respond to it, in order to aid in developing appropriate plans for coping and safety-seeking.

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