Impact of childhood traumatic events, trauma-related guilt, and avoidant coping strategies on PTSD symptoms in female survivors of domestic violence

Authors

  • Amy E. Street,

    Corresponding author
    1. National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
    • Women's Health Science Division (116B-3), National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 South Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02130
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Laura E. Gibson,

    1. National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Now affiliated with the Department of Psychology, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dana R. Holohan

    1. National Center for PTSD, Women's Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
    3. Now affiliated with the Salem VA Medical Center, Salem, Virginia
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

This investigation utilized path analyses to examine the direct and indirect effects of experiences of potentially traumatic events in childhood, trauma-related guilt, and the use of avoidant coping strategies on level of PTSD symptomatology among a sample of female survivors of domestic violence. The results of this investigation indicated that individuals with more extensive histories of potentially traumatic events in childhood were more likely to report the experience of trauma-related guilt after exposure to domestic violence victimization in adulthood. Further, the path model indicated that experiencing trauma-related guilt was associated with greater use of avoidant coping strategies. Trauma-related guilt was related to increased PTSD symptomatology both directly and indirectly through the use of avoidant coping strategies. These findings highlight the importance of attending to guilt-based affective and cognitive reactions, maladaptive coping strategies, and the association between these constructs when treating survivors of relationship violence with multiple exposures to potentially traumatic events.

Ancillary