The pandemic has only amplified the importance of doing research into the causes and consequences of violence as well as effective responses. However, sharing that research looks different these days.
In the Fall, our team typically heads off to the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) to share our work with other researchers and practitioners. Instead of logging miles this year, however, we’re logging on to a remote meeting.
The findings that we’re sharing at the remote ISTSS Annual Meeting reflect the breadth that is characteristic of our team’s work — as I hope you’ll see below across five poster presentations led by graduate student team members. From measuring service needs to developing a better understanding of revictimization risk, we hope there’s something for everyone in these posters. (Click on the picture of the poster to open a pdf version of the work.)
Needs and Concerns of Caregivers Involved in Child Abuse/Neglect Investigations
Two posters focused on understanding the needs and concerns of caregivers involved in child abuse and neglect investigations.
Adi Rosenthal led our team’s efforts to gather information about the service needs of families involved in child abuse and neglect investigations — and barriers to getting those needs met. She described that “We developed a measure for assessing the service needs and barriers across a wide range of services (i.e., physical health, mental health, school, and social, and basic needs) for families involved in child abuse or neglect investigations. The measure appears to be a promising assessment and captured high rates of unmet service needs: 94% of caregivers reported at least 1 unmet need and 39% reported at least 5. Caregivers reported an average of 7 barriers to getting their service needs met.”
Recognizing a research gap that has implications for practice, Maria-Ernestina Christl set out to develop a way to measure failure-to-protect fears. She summarized that, “Women involved in a child abuse investigation who had a history of intimate partner violence reported fears related to failure-to-protect laws. These fears were found to be related to economic dependence on the offender, racial identity, and their perceptions of the child abuse investigation.”
Three of the posters built on our team’s longstanding focus on revictimization.
Naomi Wright described findings from one of the studies that drew on interviews conducted over 9 months with women who had a recent unwanted sexual experience: “This study explored whether we could predict which women experienced another unwanted sexual experience. In particular, we wanted to understand whether social betrayal helped predict revictimization in addition to women’s other circumstances.”
Another study, led by Julie Olomi, tackled methodological limitations that have limited research on information processing and revictimization. Julie described, “Current methods seeking to interrupt the association between childhood interpersonal violence and revictimization by examining how women perceive and respond to risk using written, audio, or video vignettes have led to mixed results and not yet translated to effective, long-term interventions. This study sought to address this gap and introduces a novel risk recognition and response task asking participants to monitor and provide social skills feedback on a chat room conversation between a man and a woman to mask the focus on risk detection and response.”
Finally, Naomi Wright previewed findings from our team’s collaboration with Dr. Kim Bender (Graduate School of Social Work, DU). Naomi noted that “This study with young people experiencing houselessness found that young people who experienced violence or abuse before leaving home were more likely to also experience violence after leaving home. Psychological distress (i.e., depression and PTSD symptoms) were explored as a link between violence experiences before and after leaving home.”