Remission of PTSD after victims of intimate partner violence leave a shelter


  • This research was supported by NIMH grant K23 MH067648 and pilot funds from the Summa-Kent State Center for the Treatment and Study of Traumatic Stress. We would like to thank Sara Perez, Cynthia Cluster, Keri Pinna, Brigette Shy, and the Battered Women's Shelter of Summit and Medina Counties for their assistance in data collection.


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant public health problem associated with high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Few longitudinal studies have investigated IPV-related PTSD and we know of only 1 longitudinal study to date that has explored IPV-related PTSD in residents of battered women's shelters. The current report describes a prospective study of IPV-related PTSD in an initial sample of 147 residents of battered women's shelters. Baseline correlates of remission of IPV-related PTSD (i.e., PTSD and IPV severity, loss of personal and social resources, cessation of abuse, reunion with abuser, and length of shelter stay) over a 6-month follow-up period were investigated. Although findings are consistent with prior research suggesting a natural recovery of PTSD in IPV-victims, they also show that a significant number (46.8%) of women exhibit chronic PTSD. Participants whose PTSD remitted over follow-up had at baseline less severe IPV-related PTSD (partial η2 = .104) and fewer loss of personal and social resources (partial η2 = .095), and were less likely to reunite with their abuser after leaving the shelter than participants with chronic PTSD (3.3% and 22.4%, respectively). Clinical implications and limitations of findings are discussed.