Publication Date

Fall 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Amy Cappiccie (Director), Daniel McBride, Bruce Fane, and Dana Sullivan

Degree Program

Doctor of Psychology in Applied Psychology

Degree Type

Doctor of Psychology


Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a preventable public health problem that’s literature has documented the clinical presentations of those who have experienced IPV. These presentations include what is generally consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a wide range of other symptoms including different medical comorbidities, defensiveness, difficulties in self-regulation, externalizing behavior, difficulties in relationships, withdrawal, and somatic preoccupations. These presentations are typically assumed to be symptoms of IPV but some argue that some of these, such as insecure attachment or trauma exposure, may be precursors to experiencing IPV. This has been discussed with great caution to avoid victim blaming, while still attempting to identify if certain characteristics could increase one’s likelihood of experiencing IPV. Treatment approaches have attempted to respond to several of these differing symptoms with evidenced-based practices such as prolonged-exposure therapy, cognitive-processing therapy, stress inoculation training, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, and medication therapy.

This project reviewed how victims of IPV present to IPV service providers as those needing residential reprieve from IPV or those who are suffering from IPV but are not at immediate risk. Results from this study concluded that those who require these residential services experience higher levels of attachment difficulties, specifically rejection sensitivity, displayed level of mental distress, and traumatic symptomology than those who are seeking non-residential IPV services. The traumatic symptomology that was higher specifically identified tension reduction behaviors, suicidality, somatization, sexual disturbances, and impaired self-reference.


Psychology | Social Work