The Cycle of Violence: Associations Between Exposure to Violence, Trauma-Related Symptoms and Aggression - Findings from Congolese Refugees in Uganda

Hecker T, Fetz S, Ainamani H, Elbert T (2015)
Journal of Traumatic Stress 28: 448-455.

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War-related trauma exposure has been linked to aggression and enhanced levels of community and family violence, suggesting a cycle of violence. Reactive aggression - an aggressive reaction to a perceived threat - has been associated with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In contrast, appetitive aggression - a hedonic, intrinsically motivated form of aggression - seems to be negatively related to PTSD in offender and military populations. This study examined the associations between exposure to violence, trauma-related symptoms and aggression in a civilian population. In semistructured interviews, 290 Congolese refugees were questioned about trauma exposure, PTSD symptoms, and aggression. War-related trauma exposure correlated positively with exposure to family and community violence in the past month (r = .31, p < .001), and appetitive (r = .18, p = .002) and reactive aggression (r = .29, p < .001). The relationship between war-related trauma exposure and reactive aggressive behavior was mediated by PTSD symptoms and appetitive aggression. In a multiple sequential regression analysis, trauma exposure (β = .43, p < .001) and reactive aggression (β = .36, p < .001) were positively associated with PTSD symptoms, whereas appetitive aggression was negatively associated (β=−.13, p = .007) with PTSD symptoms. Our findings were congruent with the cycle of violence hypothesis and indicate a differential relation between distinct subtypes of aggression and PTSD.
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Hecker T, Fetz S, Ainamani H, Elbert T. The Cycle of Violence: Associations Between Exposure to Violence, Trauma-Related Symptoms and Aggression - Findings from Congolese Refugees in Uganda. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 2015;28:448-455.
Hecker, T., Fetz, S., Ainamani, H., & Elbert, T. (2015). The Cycle of Violence: Associations Between Exposure to Violence, Trauma-Related Symptoms and Aggression - Findings from Congolese Refugees in Uganda. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28, 448-455. doi:10.1002/jts.22046
Hecker, T., Fetz, S., Ainamani, H., and Elbert, T. (2015). The Cycle of Violence: Associations Between Exposure to Violence, Trauma-Related Symptoms and Aggression - Findings from Congolese Refugees in Uganda. Journal of Traumatic Stress 28, 448-455.
Hecker, T., et al., 2015. The Cycle of Violence: Associations Between Exposure to Violence, Trauma-Related Symptoms and Aggression - Findings from Congolese Refugees in Uganda. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28, p 448-455.
T. Hecker, et al., “The Cycle of Violence: Associations Between Exposure to Violence, Trauma-Related Symptoms and Aggression - Findings from Congolese Refugees in Uganda”, Journal of Traumatic Stress, vol. 28, 2015, pp. 448-455.
Hecker, T., Fetz, S., Ainamani, H., Elbert, T.: The Cycle of Violence: Associations Between Exposure to Violence, Trauma-Related Symptoms and Aggression - Findings from Congolese Refugees in Uganda. Journal of Traumatic Stress. 28, 448-455 (2015).
Hecker, Tobias, Fetz, Simon, Ainamani, Herbert, and Elbert, Thomas. “The Cycle of Violence: Associations Between Exposure to Violence, Trauma-Related Symptoms and Aggression - Findings from Congolese Refugees in Uganda”. Journal of Traumatic Stress 28 (2015): 448-455.
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