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Overlap of relationship distress and intimate partner violence in community samples

Heyman, Richard E; Lorber, Michael F; Kim, Sangwon; Wojda-Burlij, Alexandra K; Stanley, Scott M; Ivic, Ana; Snyder, Douglas K; Rhoades, Galena K; Whisman, Mark A; Beach, Steven R H
Mixed-gender couples presenting for couple therapy are at 2-3 times higher risk for physical intimate partner violence (IPV) than community couples. However, it is unclear if this elevation of relative risk is the same in the general population because relationship distress and treatment-seeking are often confounded. We used archival data from three representative U.S. civilian samples and one representative U.S. Air Force sample to test the hypothesis that clinically significant relationship distress is associated with increased risk of various forms of IPV. In these community samples, those in mixed-gender distressed relationships were at 2-3 times higher risk than those in nondistressed relationships for any physical IPV during the past year and at 3-6 times higher risk for clinically significant psychological and physical IPV during the past year. Given that the increase in IPV risk is similar for individuals in distressed community relationships and therapy-seeking relationships, the prior findings of the elevated rates of IPV in clinical samples are unlikely to be due to therapy-seeking. Although epidemiological risk involves statistical, not causal, associations, the increased co-occurrence of IPV in distressed mixed-gender couples fits with numerous theories of IPV and has implications for both screening and future research. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
PMID: 36048072
ISSN: 1939-1293
CID: 5309872

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

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

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

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

Mitnick, Danielle M; Lorber, Michael F; Smith Slep, Amy M; Heyman, Richard E; Xu, Shu; Bulling, Lisanne J; Nichols, Sara R; Eddy, J Mark
Reports an error in "Self-report measures of coercive process in couple and parent-child dyads" by Danielle M. Mitnick, Michael F. Lorber, Amy M. Smith Slep, Richard E. Heyman, Shu Xu, Lisanne J. Bulling, Sara R. Nichols and J. Mark Eddy (Journal of Family Psychology, 2021[Apr], Vol 35[3], 388-398). In the original article, the full acknowledgment of funding was missing in the author note and should have read "This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Science of Behavior Change Common Fund Program and the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research through an award administered by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research [1UH2DE025980-01]." The online version of this article has been corrected. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2020-49926-001). 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) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
PMID: 35324252
ISSN: 1939-1293
CID: 5220522

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

Spouse caregivers' identification of the patient as their primary support person is associated with better patient psychological well-being

Otto, Amy K; Vadaparampil, Susan T; Heyman, Richard E; Ellington, Lee; Reblin, Maija
Examine the impact of the primary-support person (PSP) role on advanced cancer patient and spouse caregiver psychological well-being, above and beyond the effects of relationship satisfaction.
PMID: 35486591
ISSN: 1540-7586
CID: 5217832

Impact of Relationship and Communication Variables on Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Advanced Cancer Caregivers

Otto, Amy K; Soriano, Emily C; Birmingham, Wendy C; Vadaparampil, Susan T; Heyman, Richard E; Ellington, Lee; Reblin, Maija
BACKGROUND:Cancer impacts both patients and their family caregivers. Evidence suggests that caregiving stress, including the strain of taking on a new role, can elevate the risk of numerous health conditions, including high blood pressure (BP). However, the caregiver's psychosocial experiences, including their interpersonal relationship with the patient, may buffer some of the negative physiological consequences of caregiving. PURPOSE/OBJECTIVE:To examine the influence of psychosocial contextual variables on caregiver ambulatory BP. METHODS:Participants were 81 spouse-caregivers of patients with advanced gastrointestinal or thoracic cancer. For an entire day at home with the patient, caregivers wore an ambulatory BP monitor that took readings at random intervals. Immediately after each BP reading, caregivers reported on physical circumstances (e.g., posture, activity) and psychosocial experiences since the last BP measurement, including affect, caregiver and patient disclosure, and role perceptions (i.e., feeling more like a spouse vs. caregiver). Multilevel modeling was used to examine concurrent and lagged effects of psychosocial variables on systolic and diastolic BP, controlling for momentary posture, activity, negative affect, and time. RESULTS:Feeling more like a caregiver (vs. spouse) was associated with lower systolic BP at the same time point. Patient disclosure to the caregiver since the previous BP reading was associated with higher diastolic BP. No lagged effects were statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS:Caregivers' psychosocial experiences can have immediate physiological effects. Future research should examine possible cognitive and behavioral mechanisms of these effects, as well as longer-term effects of caregiver role perceptions and patient disclosure on caregiver psychological and physical health.
PMID: 34244701
ISSN: 1532-4796
CID: 5088042

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

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