Group treatment for spouse abuse: Are women with PTSD appropriate participants?

Karin A. Schlee, Richard E. Heyman, K. Daniel O'Leary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eighty four abused women seeking therapy with their husbands were accepted into a group treatment program for spouse abuse. In the current study, we evaluated the treatment outcome of those women (n = 27) diagnosed with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD diagnosis, itself, did not differentiate those women who dropped out of treatment. Results indicated, however, that across all women, avoidance symptomatology significantly differentiated treatment completers from dropouts. Although women with PTSD began treatment in worse condition (lower marital satisfaction higher depressive symptomatology, greater fear of spouse), post-assessment revealed they achieved positive treatment gains parallel to those of women without PTSD. Women with PTSD improved on each outcome variable measured, including a reduction in fear of spouse. Women with PTSD also did not differentially drop out of either treatment condition (men's/women's versus conjoint groups) which lends support to the appropriateness of conjoint treatment for spouse abuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1998


  • Domestic violence
  • PTSD
  • Treatment outcome
  • Wife abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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