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Considering context: Current relationship satisfaction in a second-generation model of men's physical intimate partner violence

Slep, Amy M Smith; Heyman, Richard E; Daly, Kelly A; Baucom, Katherine J W
Despite a half-century of scholarship devoted to explicating and disrupting the intergenerational transmission of family violence, it remains a prominent and destructive social force in the United States. Theoretical models have posited a variety of historical and concurrent risk and protective factors implicated in the trajectory from childhood violence exposure to adult perpetration. Using a second-generation model of intimate partner violence (IPV), we integrated social learning and attachment conceptualizations to examine pathways from family-of-origin violence to IPV perpetration among adult men. A sample of mixed-sex couples (N = 233) completed self-report measures related to social learning and attachment-based factors (e.g., violence in past relationships, child exposure, IPV attitudes, adult attachment) and participated in a 10-min conversation about a desired area for change in their relationship. Following, each partner participated in a video-mediated-recall procedure assessing their anger volatility and eliciting attributions of their partners' behavior. We tested mediation pathways (consistent with social learning and attachment theories) between violence in men's families of origin and their adult IPV perpetration as a function of relationship satisfaction. The proposed model fit the data well (CFI = 0.95) but had notable modifications from the hypothesized model. Generally, social-learning pathways were more consistent with the data. Relationship satisfaction interacted with some parameters. Results support theoretical advances in understanding IPV. Although exposure to violence in men's family of origin confers risk for later IPV, and a social learning developmental pathway is consistent with results, some of these effects are altered by relationship context.
PMID: 38802987
ISSN: 1545-5300
CID: 5664312

Leveraging technology to increase the disseminability of evidence-based treatment of dental fear: An uncontrolled pilot study

Heyman, Richard E; Daly, Kelly A; Slep, Amy M Smith; Wolff, Mark S
OBJECTIVES/OBJECTIVE:U.S. and global estimates indicate that over 30% of adults fear receiving dental care, including over 20% who have visited a dentist in the last year, leading to avoidance and degraded oral and systemic health. Although evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatments for dental fear (CBT-DF) exist, they have little impact on the millions who seek dental care annually because they are not disseminable (6 h of in-chair time, delivered only in person at a few sites). We developed a disseminable CBT-DF stepped-care treatment comprising (Step 1) a mobile-health application and, for those who remain fearful, (Step 2) a 1-h, one-on-one psychological treatment session that allows practice during exposure to the patient's most-feared stimuli. We hypothesized that the treatment would (a) be rated highly on usability and credibility and (b) result in clinically consequential (i.e., lowering fear into the 0-3 "no/low fear" zone) and statistically significant changes in global dental fear. METHOD/METHODS:Racially/ethnically diverse patients (N = 48) with moderate to severe dental fear were recruited; all completed Step 1, and n = 16 completed Step 2. RESULTS:As hypothesized, users found the stepped-care treatment highly usable, credible, and helpful. Critically, this stepped-care approach produced reductions in patients' dental fear that were both clinically consequential (with half no longer fearful) and statistically significant (d = 1.11). CONCLUSIONS:This usable, credible, stepped-care approach to dental fear treatment holds promise for liberating evidence-based CBT-DF from specialty clinics, allowing broad dissemination.
PMID: 38114444
ISSN: 1752-7325
CID: 5611742

Scoping Review of Postvention for Mental Health Providers Following Patient Suicide

Daly, Kelly A; Segura, Anna; Heyman, Richard E; Aladia, Salomi; Slep, Amy M Smith
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:As suicides among military personnel continue to climb, we sought to determine best practices for supporting military mental health clinicians following patient suicide loss (i.e., postvention). MATERIALS AND METHODS/METHODS:We conducted a scoping review of the literature using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines. Our initial search of academic databases generated 2,374 studies, of which 122 were included in our final review. We categorized postvention recommendations based on the socioecological model (i.e., recommendations at the individual provider, supervisory/managerial, organizational, and discipline levels) and analyzed them using a narrative synthesizing approach. RESULTS:Extracted recommendations (N = 358) comprised those at the provider (n = 94), supervisory/managerial (n = 90), organization (n = 105), and discipline (n = 69) levels. CONCLUSIONS:The literature converges on the need for formal postvention protocols that prioritize (1) training and education and (2) emotional and instrumental support for the clinician. Based on the scoped literature, we propose a simple postvention model for military mental health clinicians and recommend a controlled trial testing of its effectiveness.
PMID: 36661225
ISSN: 1930-613x
CID: 5435552

A Meta-Review to Guide Military Screening and Treatment of Gambling Problems

Segura, Anna; Heyman, Richard E; Ochshorn, Jennie; Slep, Amy M Smith
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Excessive gambling can cause substantial biopsychosocial problems (e.g., difficulties with finances, relationships, mental, and physical health). For military Service Members, it can also result in security clearance denial or revocation, failure to achieve promotions, and premature career termination. Recent congressional mandates have obligated the U.S. Department of Defense to screen for problematic gambling, the predictive values of which are a function of (i) problem prevalence and (ii) tool sensitivity and specificity. This meta-review (i.e., systematic review of systematic reviews) on the screening properties of gambling assessment tools and the effectiveness of treatments for gambling disorder is to inform military services on responding to Service Members' gambling problems. MATERIALS AND METHODS/METHODS:EBSCO Discovery Service, PubMed, PsycINFO, Ovid Medline, Social Care Online, Epistemonikos, International Health Technology Assessment, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials electronic databases were searched up to December 2022 for systematic reviews and meta-analyses on measurements of adult subclinical or gambling, and interventions targeting individuals with GD. Three and four studies were included in each section of the current meta-review (i.e., assessment tools and treatment). For review 1, the estimated risk of bias was assessed using the Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews. RESULTS:Thirty-one tools were identified through the three systematic reviews. All had modest sensitivities and specificities; combined with low prevalences in the general SM population, positive results would be incorrect 64-99% of the time. However, if screening were conducted with SMs referred for alcohol problems, a positive result on the best screening tools would be correct 76% of the time. Several commonly used treatment approaches had demonstrated efficacy for GD. CONCLUSIONS:The combination of low prevalence of GD and subclinical gambling problems in the general population, coupled with modest sensitivity and specificity, makes screening unfeasible in the general SM population. However, dual-phase screening in higher-prevalence subpopulations (i.e., SMs already identified with substance-abuse or mental-health problems) would be viable. Regarding treatment, several interventions-already used in military healthcare-with extensive empirical track records have been successfully used to treat adults with GD.
PMID: 37966458
ISSN: 1930-613x
CID: 5611202

Revisiting "ill will versus poor skill": Relationship dissatisfaction, intimate partner violence, and observed "communication skills deficits"

Heyman, Richard E; Slep, Amy M Smith; Giresi, Jill; Baucom, Katherine J W
For decades, researchers, interventionists, and the lay public have subscribed to the notion that couples low in relationship satisfaction and/or experiencing psychological, physical, or sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) have communication skills deficits. In contrast, experimental studies of communication have concluded that differences were more likely due to partners' "ill will than poor skill." We revisited this debate by recruiting a fairly generalizable sample of couples (N = 291) via random-digit dialing and asking them to discuss two top conflict areas ("at your best" and "as you typically do"), thus measuring will-conscious inhibition of hostility and negative reciprocity and production of positivity (i.e., the "conflict triad"). The conflict triad was observed with the Rapid Marital Interaction Coding System, Second Generation. We found partial support for the hypotheses grounded in Finkel's I3 meta-model. Frequency of hostility was associated with a complicated satisfaction × IPV-extent × conversation type × gender interaction, indicating that couples' communication skills are multi-determined. Unhappier couples showed almost no change in positivity when at their best, whereas happier couples nearly doubled their positivity despite their considerably higher typical positivity mean. Negative reciprocity was associated with satisfaction and IPV-extent but not conversation type, implying that immediate instigation combined with risk factors overwhelms conscious inhibition. Intervention implications are discussed.
PMID: 36347260
ISSN: 1545-5300
CID: 5363292

Predictors of Crosscutting Patterns of Psychological Health and Family Maltreatment

Nichols, Sara R; Rhoades, Kimberly A; Lorber, Michael F; Xu, Shu; Heyman, Richard E; Slep, Amy M
INTRODUCTION/BACKGROUND:Psychological problems and family maltreatment are significant public health problems. Although research focuses almost exclusively on either individual psychological problems or family maltreatment, there is substantial co-occurrence of these problems. Similarly, intervention services are often "siloed": individuals with mental health needs are referred for mental health services, individuals with family conflict are referred for family-based treatment, etc. These treatment "silos" may miss the larger picture of the co-occurrence of risk, promotion, and the problems themselves. In a previous paper, we used latent class analysis to identify subgroups of individuals with crosscutting patterns (i.e., classes) of psychological and family maltreatment problems. In this study, we explored the predictors of these latent classes. MATERIALS AND METHODS/METHODS:Participants consisted of two large population samples of U.S. Air Force active duty members (ns = 27,895 and 30,841) who were married or cohabiting and had one or more children living in their household. Participants completed an anonymous community assessment survey, which included questionnaire items tapping personal, family, and community problems and well-being. Assessments were conducted in 2008 and 2011. All study procedures were approved by the authors' Institutional Review Board. We used exploratory factor analysis and latent class analysis to (1) identify higher-order factors of risk and promotive variables and (2) examine them as predictors of our previously identified latent classes. RESULTS:Findings indicated that individuals who reported better physical well-being as well as personal and family coping, relationship satisfaction, and support were more likely to be in the lowest-risk subgroup. Notably, individuals in the subgroup most at risk for serious violence and suicide, evidencing disinhibitory psychopathology, endorsed lower risk and higher promotive factors than those individuals in other high-risk subgroups who fell along the internalizing/externalizing continuum. CONCLUSIONS:These findings reinforce the need for integrated prevention and treatment of psychological and family maltreatment problems. Not only do these problems often co-occur, but their risk and promotive factors also tend to be intertwined. The unique (i.e., not on the continuum of the other five classes) problem profile of participants evidencing disinhibitory psychopathology is matched by a unique risk/promotive factor profile, and they will thus likely require a unique intervention approach.
PMID: 35748521
ISSN: 1930-613x
CID: 5282412

Demand-avoid-withdraw processes in adolescent dating aggression

Lorber, Michael F; Mitnick, Danielle M; Tiberio, Stacey S; Heyman, Richard E; Slep, Amy M S; Trindade, Samara; Damewood, Gabriella N; Bruzzese, Jean-Marie
We conducted an observational study of a collection of interactive processes known as "demand-withdraw" in relation to adolescent dating aggression. Couples (N = 209) aged 14-18 years participated in a challenging observational laboratory assessment to measure demands (i.e., pressures for a change), as well as demand → partner withdraw and demand → partner avoid sequences. Actor and partner effects were disentangled via dyadic data analyses. The results indicated a fairly consistent pattern in which demand → withdraw and demand → avoid sequences led by either partner were positively associated with both partners' physical and psychological aggression (measured via a dual informant questionnaire method). Further, higher quality demands (i.e., pressures for change that were specific and encouraged both members of the dyad to increase a given behavior) were inversely associated with aggression. Yet, all of the above associations were attenuated to the point of statistical nonsignificance after controlling for hostility. These results suggest two primary possibilities. The associations of demand → withdraw and demand → avoid sequences with dating aggression may be spurious, with the sequences merely markers for hostility, a known correlate of dating aggression. Alternatively, hostility may mediate the relations of demand → withdraw and demand → avoid sequences with dating aggression. Further research is required to test these competing explanations. Implications for preventive intervention are discussed.
PMID: 36645870
ISSN: 1098-2337
CID: 5404722

Does Observed Conflict Recovery Play a Role in Adolescent Dating Aggression?

Lorber, Michael F; Slep, Amy M S; Heyman, Richard E; Tiberio, Stacey S; Damewood, Gabriella N; Mitnick, Danielle M; Bruzzese, Jean-Marie
In a study of conflict recovery and adolescent dating aggression, 14- to 18-year-old couples (N = 209 dyads) participated in a 1-hr observational assessment. Negative behavior was observed during conflict-evoking "hot" tasks and in a "cooldown" task. Physical and psychological dating aggression were assessed via questionnaires. Negative behavior measured in the cooldown task was not associated with dating aggression after controlling for carryover effects of negativity from the hot to cooldown tasks. Moreover, cooldown negativity moderated the associations of hot task negativity and dating aggression. Actor and partner effects were disentangled via dyadic data analyses. Given the paucity of observational studies of dating aggression, our findings are an important contribution to the literature and in need of replication and extension.
PMID: 35726140
ISSN: 1532-7795
CID: 5289232

Glimpsing the Iceberg: Parent-Child Physical Aggression and Abuse

Slep, Amy M Smith; Rhoades, Kimberly A; Lorber, Michael F; Heyman, Richard E
Despite evidence that parents' physical aggression abuse has long-lasting negative consequences, information about the true population prevalence of aggression and physical abuse is limited. We have even less information about how parental aggression and abuse vary by child age, parent gender, and how that aggression and abuse might be clustered within families. To address these gaps, an anonymous, computer-based assessment was administered to nearly 40,000 parents of more than 60,000 children in the United States Air Force, which included a detailed assessment on up to four minor children of aggression and its impact. The survey was the largest of its type ever conducted in the United States, allowing for stable, crossvalidated estimation of rates of both corporal punishment and physical abuse. Approximately 39% of children experienced corporal punishment, peaking at three years of age, and 7% experienced physical abuse, peaking at age six. About 45% of parents reported perpetrating corporal punishment and 8% abuse; these rates were higher in multi-child families and most often involved more than one child. Parent gender was not associated with physical aggression or abuse.
PMID: 36469944
ISSN: 1552-6119
CID: 5394882

Prevention System Implementation and Reach: Attitudes and Environmental Predictors in a Randomized Controlled Trial of the NORTH STAR Prevention System

Rhoades, Kimberly A; Slep, Amy M Smith; Lorber, Michael F; Heyman, Richard E; Eddy, J Mark; Linkh, David J
Although many evidence-based interventions are well-established, our understanding of how to effectively implement and sustain those interventions in real-world settings is less well understood. We investigated predictors of implementation and reach in a randomized controlled trial of the NORTH STAR prevention system. One-third of U.S. Air Force (AF) bases worldwide were randomly assigned to NORTH STAR (n = 12) or an assessment-and-feedback-only condition (n = 12). Process data regarding implementation factors were collected from Community Action Team (CAT) members and observations of CAT processes. Results from a series of regression analyses indicated that change in leadership and community support, action planning processes, and perceived approach effectiveness from pre-action planning to follow-up predicted community action plan (CAP) implementation and that changes in barriers to implementation predicted CAP reach. Pre-action planning reports of CAT member self-efficacy and perceived approach effectiveness also predicted CAP implementation at 1-year follow-up. Future directions and practice recommendations are provided.
PMID: 35157226
ISSN: 1573-6695
CID: 5309902