Identification of Resiliency Processes in Dual-Trauma Couples: An Exploration of Self-Reported Relational Strengths and Weaknesses

Jacqueline Braughton, Tai Mendenhall, Vaida Kazlauskaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Empirical knowledge about “dual-trauma couples” (DTC), characterized by both partners with a history of trauma exposure and presentation of trauma-related symptoms, is especially deficient. We analyzed DTC partners’ qualitative data culled from the Relationship Evaluation Questionnaire (Busby et al., 2001) to ascertain dyadic resiliency processes within dual-trauma couples. Method: A data-reductive thematic analysis on short-answer responses of reported relational strengths and weaknesses from female (n = 822) and male partners’ (n = 831) yielded several processes that provide insight into individual perceptions, behaviors, and past experiences, and dyadic interactions that may foster or hinder effective resilience in DTC. Results: Participant responses highlighted existing dyadic strengths that fostered effective couple adaptative processes: shared beliefs and goals, mutual collaboration and psychological flexibility, and dyadic connectedness. Barriers to couple resiliency included individual perceptions, behaviors, and past experiences, and dyadic interactions that exacerbated relational instability, emotional unsafety, contentious communication, and difficulties with distress tolerance. Conclusions: Results promote a balanced conceptualization (i.e., inclusion of both adaptive and maladaptive interactions) of couples affected by trauma exposure. Implications for clinical treatment and several areas for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Volume14
Issue numberS1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 13 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • Dual-trauma couples
  • Dyadic coping
  • Dyadic resilience
  • Resilience processes
  • Trauma exposure

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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