Predictors of Crosscutting Patterns of Psychological Health and Family Maltreatment

Sara R. Nichols, Kimberly A. Rhoades, Michael F. Lorber, Shu Xu, Richard E. Heyman, Amy M. Slep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Psychological problems and family maltreatment are significant public health problems. Although research focuses almost exclusively on either individual psychological problems or family maltreatment, there is substantial co-occurrence of these problems. Similarly, intervention services are often "siloed": individuals with mental health needs are referred for mental health services, individuals with family conflict are referred for family-based treatment, etc. These treatment "silos" may miss the larger picture of the co-occurrence of risk, promotion, and the problems themselves. In a previous paper, we used latent class analysis to identify subgroups of individuals with crosscutting patterns (i.e., classes) of psychological and family maltreatment problems. In this study, we explored the predictors of these latent classes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Participants consisted of two large population samples of U.S. Air Force active duty members (ns = 27,895 and 30,841) who were married or cohabiting and had one or more children living in their household. Participants completed an anonymous community assessment survey, which included questionnaire items tapping personal, family, and community problems and well-being. Assessments were conducted in 2008 and 2011. All study procedures were approved by the authors' Institutional Review Board. We used exploratory factor analysis and latent class analysis to (1) identify higher-order factors of risk and promotive variables and (2) examine them as predictors of our previously identified latent classes. RESULTS: Findings indicated that individuals who reported better physical well-being as well as personal and family coping, relationship satisfaction, and support were more likely to be in the lowest-risk subgroup. Notably, individuals in the subgroup most at risk for serious violence and suicide, evidencing disinhibitory psychopathology, endorsed lower risk and higher promotive factors than those individuals in other high-risk subgroups who fell along the internalizing/externalizing continuum. CONCLUSIONS: These findings reinforce the need for integrated prevention and treatment of psychological and family maltreatment problems. Not only do these problems often co-occur, but their risk and promotive factors also tend to be intertwined. The unique (i.e., not on the continuum of the other five classes) problem profile of participants evidencing disinhibitory psychopathology is matched by a unique risk/promotive factor profile, and they will thus likely require a unique intervention approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3134-3142
Number of pages9
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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