Methods. Cross-sectional, self-report data collected from 67 predominately (76%) Black, socioeconomically disadvantaged men (e.g., 49% had a high school diploma, 72% earned less than $20,000) referred to a batterer intervention program was analyzed using Chi-Square tests for independence. Post-hoc analyses revealed no significant demographic differences, other than employment, between study participants and non-study participants in the program. The Revised Conflict Tactics Scale, ACEs 10-item checklist, PTSD Checklist for DSM 5, Structured Interview for Disorders of Extreme Stress (i.e., complex trauma symptoms), and the Mindfulness Self-Efficacy Scale were used. The associations between high ACE scores (dichotomized at 4+); PTSD diagnosis and complex trauma symptoms (dichotomized at clinical threshold); and, high levels of mindfulness self-efficacy (dichotomized at 75th percentile), and each IPV type by severity were tested.
Results. Psychological aggression was most frequently reported with similar rates for perpetration and victimization, though higher rates of physical and sexual violence victimization than perpetration were reported. Men were injured one in every seven times they were the victims of physical IPV, while men injured victims one in every two times they perpetrated physical IPV. Social desirability had no significant effect on men’s report of IPV. Over 50% of men reported 4+ ACEs; 31% met the threshold for PTSD; over 60% met the clinical threshold on at least one complex trauma domain; and, 30% of men’s mindfulness self-efficacy scores were in the highest quartile. In partial support of our hypotheses, men with high ACE scores were more likely to report severe psychological and physical victimization (Φ = .297 to .367). Men meeting the PTSD threshold were more likely to report severe psychological perpetration, and severe psychological, physical, and injury victimization (Φ = .280 to .358). Each complex trauma symptomology subscale was associated with some type of IPV perpetration or victimization (Φ = .250 - .555), with alterations in attention or consciousness and self-perception having the most encompassing effect. Men who reported high levels of mindfulness self-efficacy were less likely to report severe psychological victimization (Φ = -.314).
Discussion. The level of ACE exposure and trauma symptoms are profoundly higher than White, middle to upper income samples in studies with the general, military, and BIP population. Findings suggest that ACEs and proximal trauma symptoms are related to IPV perpetration and victimization among socioeconomically disadvantaged, Black men. Furthermore, trauma symptoms can manifest broadly in this sample, which may be due to childhood complex trauma exposure. Mindfulness self-efficacy may be one pathway to mitigate these relationships.