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Intimate partner violence outcomes in women with PTSD and substance use: a secondary analysis of NIDA Clinical Trials Network "Women and Trauma" Multi-site Study.

Cohen LR, Field C, Campbell AN, Hien DA
Addictive behaviors


Studies have shown strong associations between intimate partner violence (IPV) and both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders (SUD). Despite these linkages, research on the dual diagnosis of PTSD-SUD and its relationship to IPV is in an early stage, and little is known about how PTSD-SUD treatment might influence IPV outcomes. The current study is a secondary analysis of a larger NIDA Clinical Trials Network study exploring the effectiveness of two behavioral interventions for women with comorbid PTSD-SUD. Participants (n=288) were randomly assigned to Seeking Safety (SS), a cognitive-behavioral treatment that focuses on trauma and substance abuse symptoms, or to Women's Health Education, a psychoeducational group. Logistic regressions were used to examine how treatment condition, identified risk factors and their interactions were related to IPV. Results showed that participants who were abstinent at baseline were significantly less likely to experience IPV over the 12-month follow-up period, whereas participants living with someone with an alcohol problem were significantly more likely to experience IPV over follow-up. Findings also showed that at a trend level participants with recent interpersonal trauma at baseline and higher total of lifetime trauma exposures were more likely to report IPV during follow-up. Although there was no main effect for treatment condition, a significant interaction between treatment condition and baseline abstinence was found. Participants who were abstinent at baseline and in the SS condition were significantly less likely to report IPV over follow-up. These findings indicate that an integrated treatment for PTSD and SUD was associated with significantly better IPV outcomes for a subset of individuals. The possibility that women with PTSD-SUD may differentially benefit from SS has important clinical implications. Further research examining the intersection of PTSD, SUD and IPV, and the impact of treatment on a range of outcomes is needed.

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