PTSD and violence

Watson, Sian (2013). PTSD and violence. University of Birmingham. Foren.Psy.D.

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This thesis aims to explore the role of trauma in an individual’s pathway to violence. Professionals consider offenders’ history of trauma when assessing risk of violence, and research has found an established relationship between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and perpetration of violence. Military populations may be particularly vulnerable to this relationship. The introduction explores relevant theories. The second chapter presents a systematic review of literature relating to the relationship between PTSD and violence in military populations. Few mediating psychological processes have been identified, therefore the role of cognition is considered. Chapter Three examines the psychometric properties of a measure of violent thoughts – the Firestone Assessment of Violent Thoughts (FAVT). This measure is used alongside the Schedule of Imagined Violence (SIV) in a research study in Chapter Four which aims to empirically assess the role of violent cognitions in mediating the relationship between PTSD and violence in a military population. The results support the relationship between PTSD and violence, PTSD and violent cognitions, and violent cognitions and violent behaviour. Violent fantasy measured by the SIV mediated this relationship. However, the violent thoughts measured by the FAVT did not account for a sufficient amount of the variance, suggesting there are other mediating factors. These findings are discussed in the final chapter contextualised in the literature and the implications for practice. Finally, it is considered whether a unique pathway to violence exists for military populations with PTSD, and a model of this pathway is presented based on the findings of this thesis.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology


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