Latent profiles of PTSD symptoms in women exposed to intimate partner violence

J Affect Disord. 2015 Jul 15;180:122-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.03.047. Epub 2015 Apr 4.


Background: Studies have utilized latent class analysis (LCA) and latent profile analysis (LPA) to examine posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom profiles in a range of populations. Further study is needed to explore symptom profiles among women exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV). The current study examined latent symptom profiles in a sample of IPV-exposed women, and explored trauma-related cognitive appraisals associated with these PTSD symptom presentations.

Methods: An LPA was conducted using cross-sectional data from a non-treatment seeking community sample of women recruited following a police-reported incident of IPV by a male perpetrator (N=229). Multinomial regression analyses determined associations between latent profile membership and trauma-related appraisals.

Results: The LPA identified five PTSD symptom profiles: Low Symptom (46% of the sample); Low Symptom with High Hypervigilance (17%); Intermediate Symptom (16%); Intermediate Symptom with High Hypervigilance (11%); and High Symptom (10%). Trauma-related appraisals, including fear, alienation, and self-blame, were the strongest independent predictors of PTSD symptom profile membership.

Limitations: The study focused on female victims of IPV by a male partner, and findings may not generalize to other gender configurations (e.g. same-sex couples, male victims, etc.). The LPA is cross-sectional, and the stability of these profiles over time warrants further study.

Conclusions: These findings suggest the need for careful consideration of differences among IPV-exposed women within the larger context of PTSD research and clinical intervention. Identifying latent subgroups may provide an empirical basis for practitioners to design and implement PTSD intervention efforts that are tailored to specific symptom profiles.

Keywords: Appraisal; Female; Intimate partner violence; Posttraumatic stress disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Young Adult