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The role of intimate partner violence and relationship satisfaction in couples' interpersonal emotional arousal

Wojda, Alexandra K; Baucom, Donald H; Weber, Danielle M; Heyman, Richard E; Slep, Amy M Smith
To inform interpersonal models of intimate partner violence (IPV), the present study examines patterns of vocally encoded emotional arousal during the conversations of mixed-gender couples who reported on the extent of physical and psychological IPV and degree of relationship satisfaction (N = 149). All couples completed two problem-solving discussions. Emotional arousal was measured continuously during each conversation using vocal fundamental frequency. Contrary to expectations, results demonstrated that trajectories of arousal differed based on gender, IPV, and relationship satisfaction. Within conversations, men demonstrated linear increases in arousal at higher levels of IPV, suggesting that men may either struggle to contain their emotions or use heightened emotional expression as a conflict strategy in relationships with more extensive IPV. Conversely, women exhibited different trajectories of arousal depending on the combinations of relationship satisfaction and couple IPV, except at higher levels of their own satisfaction. Specifically, when women reported being highly satisfied in their relationships, they demonstrated similarly shaped trajectories across all levels of IPV and men's satisfaction. Together, this suggests that women's higher relationship satisfaction may buffer their emotional expression, although this may not always be adaptive within the context of relationships with extensive IPV. Overall, this study offers insight into the dynamic interpersonal processes linked with relationship distress and IPV and implies the need for a more nuanced, interpersonal research agenda for IPV research. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
PMID: 34472937
ISSN: 1939-1293
CID: 4995722

Systematic Review of the Military Career Impact of Mental Health Evaluation and Treatment

Heyman, Richard E; Slep, Amy M Smith; Parsons, Aleja M; Ellerbeck, Emma L; McMillan, Katharine K
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Military leaders are concerned that active duty members' fear of career impact deters mental health (MH) treatment-seeking. To coalesce research on the actual and perceived consequences of MH treatment on service members' careers, this systematic review of literature on the U.S. Military since 2000 has been investigating the following three research questions: (1) is the manner in which U.S. active duty military members seek MH treatment associated with career-affecting recommendations from providers? (2) Does MH treatment-seeking in U.S. active duty military members impact military careers, compared with not seeking treatment? (3) Do U.S. active duty military members perceive that seeking MH treatment is associated with negative career impacts? MATERIALS AND METHODS/METHODS:A search of academic databases for keywords "military 'career impact' 'mental health'" resulted in 653 studies, and an additional 51 additional studies were identified through other sources; 61 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility. A supplemental search in Medline, PsycInfo, and Google Scholar replacing "career impact" with "stigma" was also conducted; 54 articles (comprising 61 studies) met the inclusion criteria. RESULTS:As stipulated by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, studies were summarized on the population studied (U.S. Military Service[s]), sample used, intervention type, comparison group employed, outcome variables, and findings. Self-referred, compared with command-directed, service members appear to be less likely to face career-affecting provider recommendations in non-deployed and deployed settings although the data for the latter are not consistent. Of the two studies that tested if MH treatment actually negatively impacts military careers, results showed that those who sought treatment were more likely to be discharged although the casual nature of this relationship cannot be inferred from their design. Last, over one-third of all non-deployed service members, and over half of those who screened positive for psychiatric problems, believe that seeking MH treatments will harm their careers. CONCLUSIONS:Despite considerable efforts to destigmatize MH treatment-seeking, a substantial proportion of service members believe that seeking help will negatively impact their careers. On one hand, these perceptions are somewhat backed by reality, as seeking MH treatment is associated with a higher likelihood of being involuntarily discharged. On the other hand, correlational designs cannot establish causality. Variables that increase both treatment-seeking and discharge could include (1) adverse childhood experiences; (2) elevated psychological problems (including both [a] the often-screened depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress problems and [b] problems that can interfere with military service: personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and bipolar disorder, among others); (3) a history of aggressive or behavioral problems; and (4) alcohol use and abuse. In addition, most referrals are self-directed and do not result in any career-affecting provider recommendations. In conclusion, the essential question of this research area-"Does seeking MH treatment, compared with not seeking treatment, cause career harm?"-has not been addressed scientifically. At a minimum, longitudinal studies before treatment initiation are required, with multiple data collection waves comprising symptom measurement, treatment, and other services obtained, and a content-valid measure of career impact.
PMID: 34322709
ISSN: 1930-613x
CID: 4995752

Impact of expectation violation on relationship satisfaction across the transition to parenthood

Mitnick, Danielle M; Heyman, Richard E; Slep, Amy M Smith; Giresi, Jill; Shanley, Jacqueline E
This study examined whether violations of partner expectations-and attributions and perceptions of these violations-are associated with relationship satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. First-time parents (N = 99) mixed-sex couples completed mail-in packets during pregnancy (Time 1; T1) and when their babies were 3-5 months old (Time 2; T2). Hypotheses were largely confirmed. Multilevel modeling results indicated a significant T1-to-T2 decrease in relationship satisfaction. Expectation violations significantly predicted change in satisfaction; undermet expectations are associated with decreased satisfaction. T2 perception of expectation confirmation predicted change in satisfaction at T2 and moderated the relationship between expectation violation and relationship satisfaction. Likewise, benign postnatal attributions were significantly associated with the change in satisfaction at T2 and moderated the relationship between expectation violation and relationship satisfaction. Clinical and research implications are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
PMID: 34110846
ISSN: 1939-1293
CID: 4905492

Evaluating the Relationship Between Intimate Partner Violence-Related Training and Mental Health Professionals' Assessment of Relationship Problems

Burns, Samantha C; Kogan, Cary S; Heyman, Richard E; Foran, Heather M; Slep, Amy M Smith; Domínguez-Martínez, Tecelli; Grenier, Jean; Matsumoto, Chihiro; Reed, Geoffrey M
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious public health problem associated with increased risk of developing mental health conditions. Assessment of IPV in mental health settings is important for appropriate treatment planning and referral; however, lack of training in how to identify and respond to IPV presents a significant barrier to assessment. To address this issue, the World Health Organization (WHO) advanced a series of evidence-based recommendations for IPV-related training programs. This study examines the relationship between mental health professionals' experiences of IPV-related training, including the degree to which their training resembles WHO training recommendations, and their accuracy in correctly identifying relationship problems. Participants were psychologists and psychiatrists (N = 321) from 24 countries who agreed to participate in an online survey in French, Japanese, or Spanish. They responded to questions regarding their IPV-related training (i.e., components and hours of training) and rated the presence or absence of clinically significant relationship problems and maltreatment (RPM) and mental disorders across four case vignettes. Participants who received IPV-related training, and whose training was more recent and more closely resembled WHO training recommendations, were more likely than those without training to accurately identify RPM when it was present. Clinicians regardless of IPV-related training were equally likely to misclassify normative couple issues as clinically significant RPM. Findings suggest that IPV-related training assists clinicians in making more accurate assessments of patients presenting with clinically significant relationship problems, including IPV. These data inform recommendations for IPV-related training programs and suggest that training should be repeated, multicomponent, and include experiential training exercises, and guidelines for distinguishing normative relationship problems from clinically significant RPM.
PMID: 33866857
ISSN: 1552-6518
CID: 4995742

Self-report measures of coercive process in couple and parent-child dyads

Mitnick, Danielle M; Lorber, Michael F; Smith Slep, Amy M; Heyman, Richard E; Xu, Shu; Bulling, Lisanne J; Nichols, Sara R; Eddy, J Mark
One of the most influential behavioral models of family conflict is G. R. Patterson's (1982) coercive family process theory. Self-reports for behaviors related to coercion (e.g., hostility toward a family member) abound; however, there are no self-report measures for coercive process itself, which is, by definition, a dyadic process. Operationalizations of coercive process are measured with behavioral observation, typically including sequential analyzed, microcoded behaviors. Despite its objectivity and rigor, coding of behavior observation is not always feasible in research and applied settings because of the high training, personnel, and time costs the observation requires. Because coercive process has been shown to predict a host of maladaptive outcomes (e.g., parent-child conflict, aggression, negative health outcomes) and given the complete absence of self-report measures of coercive process, we recently designed brief questionnaires to assess coercive process in couple (Couple Coercive Process Scale [CCPS]) and parent-child interactions (Parent-Child Coercive Process Scale [PCCPS]) and tested them via Qualtrics participant panels in samples recruited to mirror socioeconomic generalizability to U.S. Census data. The CCPS and PCCPS exhibited initial evidence of psychometric quality in measuring coercive process in couple and parent-child dyads: Both measures are unifactorial; have evidence of reliability, especially at higher levels of coercive process; and demonstrate concurrent validity with constructs in their nomological networks, with medium to large effect sizes. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
PMID: 32658518
ISSN: 1939-1293
CID: 4528732

Evaluation of Two Approaches for Responding to Allegations of Family Maltreatment in the U.S. Army: Coordinated Community Response Impacts and Costs

Heyman, Richard E; Slep, Amy M Smith; Mitnick, Danielle M; Nichols, Sara R; Cracknell, Kathleen M; Tiberio, Stacey S; Kim, Sangwon; Perkins, Daniel F
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:The U.S. Air Force (USAF) conducted a program of research to develop and disseminate reliable and valid criteria for partner and child maltreatment (comprising abuse [physical, emotional/psychological, and sexual] and neglect). These criteria are now used in all branches of the U.S. military. The U.S. Army was the first service outside the USAF to adopt the criteria sets and computerized decision support tool but maintained the original committee composition (the "Case Review Committee" [CRC]) instead of adopting the entire assessment, allegation determination, and treatment planning process (the "Field-tested Assessment, Intervention-planning, and Response" [FAIR] system). The Army commissioned this study to compare the CRC and FAIR processes by testing (1) intra-committee process (i.e., three facets of committee functioning-fidelity to regulations, cohesion and team process, outsized influence of unit representatives); (2) coordinated community response to maltreatment (i.e., perceptions of fairness to alleged offenders and victims, impact on unit representatives, and (3) collaboration between the Family Advocacy Program (FAP, the military's maltreatment response agency) and outside agencies; and (4) the time expended and cost. MATERIALS AND METHODS/METHODS:New York University's Institutional Review Board approved the study protocol, and the Army's Human Research Protection Office provided permission to collect data. The ten Army garrisons with the most annual maltreatment cases participated. Committee members, FAP social workers, unit commanders, and independent observers completed assessments of individual meetings and of their overall impression of the processes. A test of whether the means significantly differed between phases was then performed separately for each outcome, and 95% CIs of the unstandardized mean difference between phases were estimated. RESULTS:Independent observers rated FAIR meetings as significantly more faithful to regulations. Unit representatives (i.e., commanders and/or first sergeants) perceived the committee to function better during FAIR (although other committee members and independent observers did not perceive differences). Unit representatives not only rated FAIR as significantly more fair to both alleged offenders and victims (ratings from other committee members did not differ), but also were more likely to attend FAIR meetings and, when they did, rated their ability to serve soldiers and families higher during FAIR. However, FAP social workers rated their relationships with units as being better during CRC, and outside agencies rated their relationship with FAP as significantly better during CRC. Costs to the Army were nearly identical in the two committee structures. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Results indicated that the CRC and FAIR processes cost almost identical amounts to run and that the FAIR system was superior in ways most likely to impact service members: (1) independent observers judged its meetings to be more faithful to Army and DoD Instructions; (2) unit representatives were more likely to attend and believed the FAIR system to be fairer (to both alleged offenders and victims) and better functioning. Care should be taken, however, in nurturing relationships between FAP and (1) unit representatives and (2) outside agencies, which may have weakened during FAIR.
PMID: 33772559
ISSN: 1930-613x
CID: 4995732

The Impact of NORTH STAR on Suicidality, Substance Problems, Intimate Partner Violence, and Child Abuse

Smith Slep, Amy M; Heyman, Richard E; Lorber, Michael F; Linkh, David J
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:We evaluated the effectiveness of New Orientation for Reducing Threats to Health from Secretive-problems That Affect Readiness (NORTH STAR), a community assessment, planning, and action framework to reduce the prevalence of suicidality, substance problems, intimate partner violence, and child abuse. MATERIALS AND METHODS/METHODS:One-third of U.S. Air Force bases worldwide were randomly assigned to NORTH STAR (n = 12) or an assessment-and-feedback-only condition (n = 12). Two Air Force-wide, cross-sectional, anonymous, web-based surveys were conducted of randomly selected samples assessing risk/protective factors and outcomes. This study was reviewed and approved by the institutional review board at the investigators' university and by the institutional review board at Fort Detrick. RESULTS:NORTH STAR, relative to control, bases experienced a 33% absolute risk reduction in hazardous drinking rates and cumulative risk, although, given the small number of bases, these effects were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS:Given its relatively low cost, use of empirically supported light-touch interventions, and emphasis on sustainability with existing resources, NORTH STAR may be a useful system for prevention of a range of adult behavioral health problems that are difficult to impact.
PMID: 33169138
ISSN: 1930-613x
CID: 4676322

High sensitivity and specificity screening for clinically significant intimate partner violence

Heyman, Richard E; Baucom, Katherine J W; Xu, Shu; Slep, Amy M Smith; Snarr, Jeffery D; Foran, Heather M; Lorber, Michael F; Wojda, Alexandra K; Linkh, David J
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended that clinicians screen patients for intimate partner violence (IPV). This article aims to develop and test the first screeners for clinically significant physical and psychological IPV (i.e., acts meeting criteria in the International Classification of Diseases (11th ed.; ICD-11; World Health Organization, 2019) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The goal was to derive screeners that (1) are maximally brief, while still achieving high sensitivity and specificity; (2) assess perpetration and victimization when either men or women are reporting; and (3) use ICD-11/DSM-5 criteria as the reference standard. Random samples of active duty service members at 82 installations worldwide were obtained via e-mail invitation (2006: N = 54,543; 2008: N = 48,909); their response rates were excellent for long general population surveys with no payment (2006: 44.7%, 2008: 49.0%). The population of spouses at the participating installation was invited by mailed postcard (2006: N = 19,722; 2008: N = 12,127; response rates-2006: 12.3%, 2008: 10.8%). Clinically significant physical intimate partner violence can be effectively screened with as few as four items, with sensitivities > 90% and specificities > 95%; clinically significant psychological intimate partner violence can be screened with two items. Men and women can be screened with equivalent accuracy, as can those committing the violence and those victimized by it. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
PMID: 32673030
ISSN: 1939-1293
CID: 4532952

Couples' Anger Dynamics during Conflict: Interpersonal Anger Regulation, Relationship Satisfaction, and Intimate Partner Violence

Slep, Amy M; Heyman, Richard E; Lorber, Michael F; Tiberio, Stacey S; Casillas, Katherine L
We tested hypotheses about moment-to-moment interpersonal influences on anger during couples' conflict, and the association of those anger dynamics with relationship satisfaction and intimate partner violence (IPV). Displayed anger was coded from laboratory observations of cohabiting couples (N = 197); experienced anger was assessed via a video-recall procedure. Credible, but variable, associations were found in which a person's anger display at one moment was linked to change in the partner's anger display and experience in the next moment. Women's anger experience was more strongly influenced by men's anger displays in couples with higher levels of IPV and couples with lower levels of relationship satisfaction. The displayed anger of men who perpetrated higher levels of IPV was more strongly influenced by women's anger displays. Overall, when individuals displayed higher intensity anger, partners reacted with increasingly angry feelings but decreasingly angry displays. Results suggest that anger dynamics relate to dyadic processes and that dynamics relate to important relationship outcomes. Dyadic anger dynamics might prove a worthy intervention target.
PMID: 33511642
ISSN: 1545-5300
CID: 4777072

Patient Experience and Expression of Unpleasant Emotions During Health Care Encounters

Heyman, Richard E; Baucom, Katherine J W; Giresi, Jill; Isaac, Liza J; Slep, Amy M Smith
To examine the concordance between patients' experience and expression of unpleasant emotions in a health care context, 21 patients presenting to a university dental clinic were observed for expressed unpleasant emotions and patients provided the intensity of their experienced unpleasant emotions. We found low convergence between experience and expression. Most of the time that patients experience unpleasant emotions they do not express them, and 80% of the time patients express unpleasant emotions they are not experiencing them at the time. Providers need to frequently check in with patients regarding their emotional experience during appointments, as it is infrequently accessible to providers.
PMCID:7786783
PMID: 33457530
ISSN: 2374-3735
CID: 4762792