11 April 2011
PTSD common in male victims of intimate partner violence
by George Atkinson
Men abused by their female partners suffer significant psychological trauma, according to two new studies published by the American Psychological Association in the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinity.
A growing body of research has picked up on the prevalence and significance of domestic violence perpetrated against men. "Given the stigma surrounding this issue and the increased vulnerability of men in these abusive relationships, we as mental health experts should not ignore the need for more services for these men," said British researcher Anna Randle.
According to the National Institute of Justice, 8 percent of men and 25 percent of women reported being sexually or physically assaulted by a current or former partner. An analysis of the figures showed that male victims were just as likely to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as female victims of domestic abuse. Interestingly, psychological abuse was just as strongly associated with PTSD as was physical violence in these male victims. "This raises questions and concerns for male victims of domestic violence, given findings that women are more likely to perpetrate psychological than physical aggression toward male partners," notes Randle.
The second study looked at men who had sought professional help after being violently abused by their female partners. The authors called this "intimate terrorism," characterized by much violence and controlling behavior.
The researchers found that there were associations between abuse and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Interestingly, "intimate terror victims" who had sought professional help were at a much greater risk of developing PTSD than the men from the general community group who said they had engaged in more minor acts of violence with their partners. "This is the first study to show that PTSD is a major concern among men who sustain partner violence and seek help," said researcher Denise Hines.
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Source: American Psychological Association