When Two Worlds Collide: Examining Dual-Trauma Couples Navigating Their Past Trauma and Relationship

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O'Mahony, Rachael
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This research will examine the dynamics of dual-trauma couples navigating through trauma and their relationship in comparison to single-trauma couples. The purpose of this paper is to determine if there are significant differences with dual-trauma couples and whether being in one strengthen the resilience to dealing with past trauma and whether there is an association with relationship satisfaction. Finally, this paper will touch on the important area of intimate partner violence in relation to dual-trauma couples. The research paper will first delve into the research literature on dual-trauma couples, which is currently limited in scope and availability. Then it will draw on relevant studies on single-trauma couples and provide a summary of findings. This paper will highlight the significance, complexities, and need for future research into this area as it is widely accepted that trauma begins with the individual but affects the collective including interpersonal relationships. The major findings are that research is mixed, although trends seem to lean towards an association between dual-trauma couples and lower relationship satisfaction and a higher likelihood of negative interaction cycles. The literature gathered reinforces the need for future research that captures more diverse samples that include different ethnicities, different types of relationships, and sexual orientation, and the need for separate research on different types of traumas and how relationships are affected. This will enable relevant research findings to have greater generalizability, therefore can contribute to improvements in clinical practices, including the counselling field, which is representative to the greater population.
dual-trauma couples , negative interaction cycle , posttraumatic stress