The purpose of the present study was to examine the longitudinal and bidirectional associations between PTSD symptoms and psychological and physical IPV perpetration from adolesence to young adulthood.
A large literature documents that posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms are associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration among adults. However, research on this relationship among adolescents and young adults has been plagued by methodological flaws (e.g., cross-sectional designs). In the current study, a sample of racially and ethnically diverse high school students (N = 1,042; 56% female) were assessed annually for 6 years (from 2010 to 2015 in Southeastern Texas). At each assessment, participants completed measures of PTSD symptoms and psychological and physical IPV perpetration. The mean age of the sample at the first assessment was 15.09 (SD = .79). Structural equation modeling demonstrated that PTSD symptoms at Years 2, 3, and 4 predicted increases in psychological IPV perpetration in the subsequent year. In turn, psychological IPV perpetration at Years 1 and 4 predicted increases in PTSD symptoms in the subsequent years. In addition, psychological IPV perpetration mediated the association between PTSD symptoms and physical IPV perpetration over time. Results were consistent across gender and race/ethnicity. Findings provide initial evidence that PTSD symptoms are associated with IPV perpetration across time from adolescence to young adulthood. Prevention and intervention programs for adolescent and young adult IPV perpetration may benefit from screening for, and potentially treating, PTSD symptoms. (Publisher Abstract Provided)