Threat of firearm use affects PTSD symptoms among female victims of partner violence
A new study shows that the threat of firearm use by a male partner in an intimate relationship is a significant predictor of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity in women, independent of other forms of interpersonal partner violence. The study is published in Violence and Gender.
Tami Sullivan, PhD and Nicole Weiss, PhD, Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, CT), coauthored the article entitled "Is Firearm Threat in Intimate Relationships Associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms among Women?" The researchers reported that more than 24% of the nearly 300 women in the study who had been victims of domestic violence by a male intimate partner had experienced threat with a firearm during the relationship.
These findings have important implications for providers who care for women involved in criminal cases associated with intimate partner violence. The development of validated measures to assess firearm-related threat and fear could be valuable predictive tools to help identify women who are at risk for PTSD and candidates for prevention and intervention efforts.
"This article underscores the continued damage caused by the reckless use of firearms and, as important, it provides much needed and critical insight into the breadth and depth of trauma brought about by domestic violence," says Editor-in-Chief Mary Ellen O'Toole, PhD, Forensic Behavioral Consultant and Senior FBI Profiler/Criminal Investigative Analyst (ret.) Director of the Forensic Sciences Program, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.