Betrayal trauma theory proposes a relation between intimate partner violence (IPV) and dissociation, suggesting that dissociation among victims of IPV may function to restrict awareness of abuse in order to preserve attachments perceived as vital.
We investigated two factors that may moderate the relation between IPV and dissociation-childhood sexual abuse (CSA) severity and fear of abandonment-among 348 women currently in a relationship. The relation between frequency of IPV (sexual and physical) and dissociation (amnesia and depersonalization) was moderated by CSA severity and fear of abandonment.
Specifically, among women with clinically-relevant fear of abandonment, the strength of the relation between IPV and dissociation became stronger as CSA severity increased. This study is the first to demonstrate the moderating roles of fear of abandonment and CSA history in the relation between IPV and dissociation among women.
Findings suggest that it may be important to target fear of abandonment in interventions with IPV victims who have a CSA history. Results suggest that fear of abandonment warrants greater attention in research on IPV revictimization.
Zerubavel N., L. Messman-Moore, T, DiLillo, D. and L. Gratz, K. (2017). Childhood Sexual Abuse and Fear of Abandonment Moderate the Relation of Intimate Partner Violence to Severity of Dissociation. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation. DOI: 10.1080/15299732.2017.1289491.
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