Social problem solving strategies and posttraumatic stress disorder in the aftermath of intimate partner violence

Catherine M. Reich, Náthali Blackwell, Catherine A. Simmons, J. Gayle Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Social factors are often associated with the development or maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the aftermath of interpersonal traumas. However, social problem solving strategies have received little attention. The current study explored the role of social problem solving styles (i.e., rational approaches, impulsive/careless strategies, or avoidance strategies) as intermediary variables between abuse exposure and PTSD severity among intimate partner violence survivors. Avoidance problem solving served as an intermediating variable for the relationship between three types of abuse and PTSD severity. Rational and impulsive/careless strategies were not associated with abuse exposure. These findings extend the current understanding of social problem solving among interpersonal trauma survivors and are consistent with more general avoidance coping research. Future research might examine whether avoidance problem solving tends to evolve in the aftermath of trauma or whether it represents a longstanding risk factor for PTSD development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The current manuscript was based on the second author's thesis in partial fulfillment of her masters degree in social work. Support for this work is partially provided by the Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence position (J. Gayle Beck).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Avoidance
  • Domestic violence
  • Interpersonal trauma
  • Intimate partner abuse
  • PTSD
  • Physical abuse
  • Problem solving
  • Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse


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