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Family functioning in suicidal inpatients with intimate partner violence
The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (2007)
  • A. Heru
  • Gregory Lyal Stuart
  • P. R. Recupero
Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is commonly bidirectional with both partners perpetrating and being victims of aggressive behaviors. In these couples, family dysfunction is reported across a broad range of family functions: communication, intimacy, problem solving, expression or control of anger, and designation of relationship roles. This study reports on the perceived family functioning of suicidal inpatients. Method: In this descriptive, cross-sectional study of adult suicidal inpatients, participants completed assessments of recent IPV and family functioning. Recruited patients were between 18 and 65 years of age and English fluent, had suicidal ideation, and were living with an intimate partner for at least the past 6 months. Intimate partner violence was assessed using the Conflict Tactics Scale-Revised, and family functioning was measured using the McMaster Family Assessment Device. The study was conducted from August 2004 through February 2005. Results: In 110 inpatients with suicidal ideation and IPV, family functioning was perceived as poor across many domains, although patients did report family strengths. Gender differences were not found in the overall prevalence of IPV, but when the sample was divided into good and poor family functioning, women with poorer family functioning reported more psychological abuse by a partner. For both genders, physical and psychological victimization was associated with poorer family functioning. Conclusion: Among psychiatric inpatients with suicidal ideation, IPV occurred in relationships characterized by general dysfunction. Poorer general family functioning was associated with the perception of victimization for both genders. The high prevalence of bidirectional IPV highlights the need for the development of couples treatment for this population of suicidal psychiatric inpatients.
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Citation Information
A. Heru, Gregory Lyal Stuart and P. R. Recupero. "Family functioning in suicidal inpatients with intimate partner violence" The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry Vol. 9 Iss. 6 (2007)
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