KOPS - The Institutional Repository of the University of Konstanz

The Cycle of Violence in Combatants : The Interaction of Childhood Maltreatment, Mental Health, and Aggression

The Cycle of Violence in Combatants : The Interaction of Childhood Maltreatment, Mental Health, and Aggression

Cite This

Files in this item

Checksum: MD5:4aadc1c08fd29105b1557f72995b14b5

NANDI, Corina, 2016. The Cycle of Violence in Combatants : The Interaction of Childhood Maltreatment, Mental Health, and Aggression [Dissertation]. Konstanz: University of Konstanz

@phdthesis{Nandi2016Cycle-33456, title={The Cycle of Violence in Combatants : The Interaction of Childhood Maltreatment, Mental Health, and Aggression}, year={2016}, author={Nandi, Corina}, address={Konstanz}, school={Universität Konstanz} }

Nandi, Corina eng terms-of-use The present thesis explored the factors fostering and maintaining violence in a post-conflict setting. Therefore, the thesis investigated the sequelae of childhood maltreatment, trauma exposure and violence perpetration with a focus on symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and appetitive aggression in Burundian ex-combatants and soldiers. Furthermore, the impact of these factors on self-perpetrated violence during foreign deployment, in the community, and within the family were examined. Violence usually does not cease in communities of post-conflict countries, and an increase in violence within the families of war- affected populations can also be observed (Catani, Jacob, Schauer, Kohila, & Neuner, 2008). Past research has identified war-related PTSD to contribute to violent behavior after war deployment (MacManus et al., 2013; Orcutt, King, & King, 2003). Yet, a pleasure-driven attraction to violent cues, namely appetitive aggression, was as well linked to violent offenses (Hecker, Hermenau, Maedl, Elbert, & Schauer, 2012; Köbach, Schaal, & Elbert, 2014). Often overlooked when exploring the precursors and consequences of violence in war context is the effect of abusive experiences during childhood. Childhood maltreatment is associated with impaired mental health (Margolin, & Gordis, 2000; Teicher, Samson, Polcari, & McGreenery, 2006). The concept of the cycle of violence presumes that a history of child abuse predisposes one to violence perpetration later in life (Widom, Czaja, & DuMont, 2015). The first article investigated predictors of PTSD symptoms and appetitive aggression in two groups of currently active soldiers and demobilized combatants. The building-block effect of traumatic experiences on PTSD (Neuner et al., 2004) was confirmed. Self-committed violence was not significantly associated with PTSD symptoms but was the strongest predictor of appetitive aggression. The results of the first article revealed furthermore that childhood maltreatment was an additional predictor of PTSD. In addition, childhood maltreatment moderated the relationship between the number of traumatic events and PTSD symptoms. This indicates that childhood maltreatment might entail vulnerability for the development of PTSD symptoms after subsequent traumatic events. In interaction with self-committed violence, childhood maltreatment was also positively associated with appetitive aggression. Findings for the specific trauma-potential of self-perpetrated violence are inconsistent (Hecker, Hermenau, Maedl, Hinkel, Schauer, & Elbert, 2013). Violent offending might also be perceived as appealing, therefore particularly fostering appetitive aggression. Köbach and colleagues (2014) have demonstrated in a sample of ex-combatants of the DR Congo, that violent offences are related to appetitive aggression rather than to PTSD symptoms. The second article of this thesis could replicate this finding in the sample of Burundian ex-combatants who presented with a comparable level of violence exposure. Examinations of the relationship between PTSD and appetitive aggression postulated a buffering effect of appetitive aggression on the development of PTSD due to a different perceiving of violent cues (Hecker, Hermenau, Maedl, Schauer, & Elbert, 2013; Weierstall, Castellanos, Neuner, & Elbert, 2013). The results of the third article supported the assumption of the protective influence in the sample of Burundian ex-combatants. PTSD as well as appetitive aggression have been separately linked to violent behavior in past cross-sectional studies (e.g., MacManus et al., 2012; Hecker, et al., 2012). In a longitudinal design, the fourth article could demonstrate the independent contribution of symptoms of the PTSD - hyperarousal cluster as well as appetitive aggression for self-committed violence during deployment in the sample of the currently active soldiers. Correspondingly, the fifth article found PTSD symptoms and appetitive aggression to predict community violence after deployment. Appetitive aggression was not predictive for intimate partner violence and depression symptoms here mediated the effect of PTSD symptoms. Childhood familial violence was linked to appetitive aggression as well as symptoms of PTSD and depression. Moreover, it was the only predictor for the infliction of violent behavior on children and had additionally direct effects on intimate partner and community violence. The present thesis demonstrated that beyond PTSD, appetitive aggression is an important phenomenon amongst combatants, which is constantly promoted though violent experiences. While it has the potential to buffer PTSD symptoms up to a certain degree, it poses a high risk for recurrent violent outbursts. The thesis highlighted the prominent role of childhood maltreatment. First as a vulnerability factor for mental health and appetitive aggression and secondly as a risk factor for violent behavior in adulthood. The present thesis has attained further knowledge about the interplay of mental health, appetitive aggression and violent behavior and pointed out the significant role of childhood maltreatment in maintaining the cycle of violence in post-conflict countries. The Cycle of Violence in Combatants : The Interaction of Childhood Maltreatment, Mental Health, and Aggression 2016 Nandi, Corina 2016-03-24T09:38:57Z 2016-03-24T09:38:57Z

Downloads since Mar 24, 2016 (Information about access statistics)

Nandi_0-325229.pdf 729

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Search KOPS


My Account