Veterans, Trauma, and Battering Behavior

​Domestic violence rates among combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are higher than the general population, with PTSD symptoms being associated with increased levels of psychological aggression and physical assaults. Male veterans with PTSD are two to three times more likely than veterans without PTSD to engage in intimate partner violence and more likely to be involved with the legal system. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have increased the risk of PTSD and intimate
partner violence. This has potentially long-term consequences for immediate victims and their families, and poses new challenges in developing proactive evidence-based community responses to violence prevention.

The goal of this study is to develop and pilot a method—community based system dynamics—for designing community prevention strategies to emerging public health issues with a specific focus on addressing the increased risk of IPV and its effects on families.

This project builds off earlier group model building efforts through the Missouri Mental Health Transformation Project; ongoing collaborations with faculty jointly appointed to Washington University and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and violence prevention community agencies, and previous empirical and simulation research on intimate partner violence, community responses to violence, and implementation of evidence based practice in community based organizations.

Develop a set of group model building “scripts” or protocols for working with community stakeholders (veterans administration, community based providers, administrators from department of mental health, veterans, victim advocates, etc.) to define and model the problem using system dynamics

Conduct group model building sessions to develop a system dynamics simulation model with stakeholders on how to respond to the increasing risk of IPV associated with veterans with PTSD

Identify and evaluate a community violence prevention strategy using system dynamics simulation modeling to be tested in a subsequent research application
This study adds to the science of implementation literature in adapting and tailoring prevention strategies to fit organizational culture and target population characteristics. Systems dynamics modeling is a relatively new approach to solving social problems and research like this has high public health significance in the area of program planning and policy.

Peter Hovmand, PhD
Monica Matthieu, PhD

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

07/09 – 07/11

St. Louis VA Medical Center

Peter Hovmand