Male-perpetrated violence among Vietnam veteran couples: relationships with veteran's early life characteristics, trauma history, and PTSD symptomatology

J Trauma Stress. 2003 Aug;16(4):381-90. doi: 10.1023/A:1024470103325.


Using structural equation modeling, we examined the impact of early-life stressors, war-zone stressors, and PTSD symptom severity on partner's reports of recent male-perpetrated intimate partner violence (IPV) among 376 Vietnam veteran couples. Results indicated that several variables demonstrated direct relationships with IPV, including relationship quality with mother, war-zone stressor variables, and PTSD symptom severity. Importantly, retrospective reports of a stressful early family life, childhood antisocial behavior, and war-zone stressors were indirectly associated with IPV via PTSD. One of our 2 war-zone stressor variables, perceived threat, had both direct and indirect (through PTSD) relationships with IPV. Experiencing PTSD symptoms as a result of previous trauma appears to increase an individual's risk for perpetrating IPV. Implications for research and treatment are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Combat Disorders / epidemiology
  • Combat Disorders / psychology*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical History Taking
  • Models, Statistical
  • Personality Development*
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Vietnam
  • Warfare*