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Detecting Ongoing Intimate Partner Victimization in the Lives of Trauma Survivors With Substance Use Disorders: The Need for Supplemental Assessment

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Individuals seeking substance abuse treatment are at increased risk for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and recent/ongoing victimization by their intimate partners. To create a safe context for trauma treatment, it may be important to address ongoing intimate partner violence (IPV). Given that most diagnostic interviews for PTSD include an assessment of potentially traumatic events across the life span, including IPV, many clinicians may assume that IPV items included in such interviews are sufficient to assess recent/ongoing IPV. This study examined whether participants reported past-year IPV experiences on a well-established self-report questionnaire of IPV, The Conflict Tactics Scale–Revised, which were not reported during a modified version of a well-established interview of trauma history, “The National Women's Study of PTSD Module.” Participants were men and women in substance abuse treatment with clinically significant trauma histories. As hypothesized, participants reported recent IPV on the self-report questionnaire that was not reported during the interview. Although clinicians may assume they have adequately assessed recent/ongoing IPV during interview-based trauma assessments, findings of this study indicate that supplemental self-report assessment may enhance its detection and facilitate intervention.
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Keywords: ASSESSMENT; COUPLES; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE; MARITAL THERAPY; POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER; SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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