Despite prevention campaigns, the rates of childhood interpersonal trauma (CIT; child maltreatment, sexual abuse, neglect, etc.) remain high and the mechanisms that give rise to long-lasting negative health problems in victims remain poorly understood. Given its interpersonal nature (i.e., caused by another human), CIT may lead to particularly dreadful effects on psycho-relational health, such as chronic psychological distress and hampered abilities to establish or maintain healthy couple relationships in adulthood. Yet, couple relationships are recognized as the most significant relationships for a majority of adults, as well as a key determinant of physical health and longevity. The overarching goal of the research program "traumas interpersonels et santé" is to elucidate the pathways by which adult victims of interpersonal trauma, especially CIT, experience persistent negative health outcomes, in order to guide effective empirically-based interventions for them.
Using a multi-sample, multi-method, multi-informant and systemic approach, this research program will empirically assess integrative models of the mechanisms linking CIT to negative health outcomes, study systemic health effects of CIT within couples, test the efficacy of systemic integrative treatment targeting the effects of CIT in young sexual offenders and their families, and examine the specific needs of male victims of interpersonal trauma.
The proposed program should contribute to ongoing endeavours to break the cycle of violence, as well as promote and enhance the well-being of interpersonal trauma survivors, thereby benefiting society as a whole. Beyond contributing to empirical and theoretical refinements, this program will ultimately help to elucidate why many trauma survivors experience significant distress and contribute to the elaboration of effective and properly-tailored services, not only responding to current knowledge gaps, but also setting the stage for ongoing research projects and collaborations to guide health services offered to trauma survivors.