Handbook of Interpersonal Violence and Abuse Across the Lifespan


A large body of research has demonstrated that experiencing abuse by an intimate partner is associated with a wide range of mental health consequences. Some are the direct results of violence, others are related to the traumatic psychophysiological effects of ongoing abuse. Less well researched, however, are the ways that people who abuse their partners engage in coercive tactics related to their partner’s mental health or substance use as part of a broader pattern of abuse and control – tactics known as mental health and substance use coercion. For survivors of ongoing Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), responding to trauma raises another set of concerns, particularly when the trauma is unremitting, and symptoms reflect a response to ongoing danger and coercive control. At the same time, many survivors experience multiple types of trauma over the course of their lives, including structural violence and marginalization. While more research is needed on IPV-specific treatment interventions, evidence indicates that interventions that are adapted to meet the specific needs of survivors of IPV are most effective. This chapter provides an overview of the impact of IPV on survivors’ mental health and a framework for treatment in the context of IPV, including IPVspecific treatment strategies and suggestions for incorporating an IPV- and trauma-informed approach.

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