violence against women; sexual violence; mental health; posttraumatic stress; substance use; self-harm; coping
Jaquier Véronique, Vuille Joëlle (2017), Les femmes et la question criminelle: Délits commis, expériences de victimisation et professions judiciaires
, Seismo, Zürich.
Flanagan J. C., Jaquier V., Overstreet N., Swan S. C., Sullivan T. P. (2014), The mediating role of avoidance coping between IPV victimization, mental health, and substance abuse among women experiencing bidirectional IPV, in Psychiatry Research
, 220(1-2), 391-396.
Hellmuth J. C., Jaquier V., Young-Wolff K., Sullivan T. P. (2013), Posttraumatic stress disorder symptom clusters, alcohol misuse, and women's use of intimate partner violence, in Journal of Traumatic Stress
, 26(4), 451-458.
Jaquier V., Flanagan J. C., Sullivan T. P., Anxiety and posttraumatic stress symptom pathways to substance use problems among community women experiencing intimate partner violence, in Anxiety, Stress & Coping
Hellmuth J. C., Jaquier V, Swan S. C., Sullivan T. P., Elucidating traumatic stress symptom profiles and their correlates among women experiencing bidirectional intimate partner violence, in Journal of Clinical Psychology
Research in past decades has provided growing awareness of the pervasive impact of victimization on women's mental health. Past studies have identified numerous short and long-term mental health problems associated with victimization, including posttraumatic stress, depression, and suicidal behavior. In particular, posttraumatic stress has been shown to frequently occur in women victims of violence. Rates vary according to assessment methods and timing, yet posttraumatic stress has been shown to affect up to 46% of rape victims and meta-analysis findings indicated that 31 to 84% of women exposed to intimate partner violence met criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder.Victimization and posttraumatic stress are associated with various risk behaviors including self-harm, substance use, and use of aggression. Self-harm has been associated with histories of sexual abuse in both childhood and adulthood. Women victims of violence are disproportionately affected by substance use problems, particularly in the context of intimate violence. Self-medication and tension reduction models have been proposed as possible explanations for the high rates of substance use among victims, suggesting that women use alcohol or drug to decrease anxiety, stress, fear, and other tensions associated with experiencing victimization. Further, recent studies suggest that while some abused women express their distress outwardly - presenting elevated levels of anger and aggression - others direct their distress inwardly by using substance or displaying self-harm behaviors. While victimization is associated with mental health problems and risk behaviors, women have different experiences of sexual violence and react in various ways. Differences in the subjective emotional experience of sexual violence are expected to be associated with different mental health problems and risk behaviors. Yet the different trajectories of women victims are not fully understood. In particular, mental health problems and risk behaviors associated with victimization have been shown to be impacted by women’s personal and social resources, such as the way they cope or the social support they utilize. The impact of the victim-perpetrator relationship on mental health problems and risk behaviors is understudied. As of yet, limited studies have directly examined how the victim-perpetrator relationship in victimization might impact mental health problems and risk behaviors. Trauma research has shown that different types of trauma differently impact women’s mental health, yet little is known about how differing are intimate and nonintimate sexual violence experiences. Research suggests that women may cope differently according to their relationship to the perpetrator, yet the types of relationships have often been poorly defined in past studies and differences across theses types have not been extensively researched. This exploratory community study will examine mental health problems and risk behaviors among women victims of intimate and nonintimate sexual violence using a mixed-method approach. The study comprises the following specific aims: (1) To examine the impact of the victim-perpetrator relationship on women’s mental health and risk behaviors; (2) To use qualitative research methods to better understand women’s cognitive and emotional appraisals of sexual violence and examine how personal and social resources might act as protective factors, in particular: (2a) to examine whether women’s coping strategies differ by victim-perpetrator relationship; and (2b) to examine whether women’s disclosure of sexual victimization and the social reactions to this disclosure differ by victim-perpetrator relationship. Combining quantitative and qualitative methods allows for a deeper understanding of women’s experiences of intimate and nonintimate sexual violence. Given the complex and highly personal nature of sexual victimization, its multiple dimensions are not all accessible to quantitative measures. Quantitative and qualitative findings will highlight commonalities and differences among experiences and provide key elements to inform both clinical practice and intervention development.