Family Violence Research

Project Theme(s): Trauma, Substance Use and Mental Health, Community Engaged Research and Evaluation, Vulnerable Populations & Community

Area Description: Our program of research is centered on individual- and system-level factors that affect the mental and physical health of women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV). At the individual level, we conduct risk and protective factor research with a focus on applying micro-longitudinal designs such as experience sampling methods and research that informs the development of interventions to be implemented in community settings. Specifically, we examine: (1) precursors, correlates, and outcomes of women's victimization and their use of aggression in intimate relationships, and (2) the co-occurrence of IPV, posttraumatic stress, substance use, and sexual risk with specific attention to daily processes (i.e., how experiences and behaviors unfold on a daily basis in their natural environment).

At the system-level, our research focuses on understanding the capacity of systems (e.g., criminal justice system and HIV service system) to meet the unique needs of women who experience IPV and how these systems influence the well-being of women. For example, a current study examines the extent to which criminal orders of protection reduce domestic violence and influence the daily lives of women experiencing IPV, their offenders’ behavior, and their children’s well-being.

In addition to conducting federally-funded research, we are a statewide leader in the delivery of violence prevention services to adult aggressors of domestic violence. Our staff develops and implements psycho-educational groups for men and women to address domestic violence, and as appropriate, anger management. Further, we consult to programs and service systems regarding meeting the unique needs of populations affected by domestic violence.

The Family Violence Research Lab applies micro-longitudinal designs to examine risk and protective factors among women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). Specific attention is paid to daily processes and micro-longitudinal designs that is unique to other IPV research. The lab has conducted research to identify the detrimental roles of posttraumatic stress, substance use, and sexual risk in relation to IPV and its co-occurring problems. Our research on system-level factors has gained national attention as evidenced by two invited presentations to the National Institute of Justice and National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Our long-term goals are to: (1) develop community-based preventive interventions to decrease IPV and its related health problems (e.g., substance use, PTSD, and sexual risk behavior) and (2) contribute to changes in policy and practice at the systems level to improve the well-being of women victims who utilize services.

This ongoing study is funded by National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse R01 DA031275. The project addresses the critical need to determine mechanisms through which IPV is related to increased drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and risky sexual behavior in order to develop and tailor integrated intervention and prevention strategies to the unique needs of this population. The short-term objective is to evaluate contingencies among PTSD symptom severity by cluster, substance use, and risky sexual behavior and to determine if these contingencies differ by racial/ethnic group. The long-term objective is to develop integrated intervention and prevention strategies addressing symptoms of PTSD, substance use, risky sexual behavior, and IPV-related problems to be implemented in community settings.

Carolina Price, B.A.
Research Associate