USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications

Trauma Bonding and Interpersonal Violence

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Joan A Reid

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2013




The psychological phenomenon labeled Stockholm syndrome or trauma bonding has been explained as a product of interpersonal trauma whereby the perpetrator elicits fear in the victim that is experienced as venerating gratitude for being allowed to survive. There is no widely accepted theory to explain how perpetrators of trauma emotionally bind their victims to them; however, the general phenomenon of victims developing emotional attachments to their abusers or captors has been observed in situations of intimate partner violence, child abuse, hostage situations, human trafficking, and cults. Despite repeated observations of trauma bonding in victims of interpersonal violence, little research exists regarding its formation or persistence and even less is known about positive resolution in survivors. The chapter begins by presenting the existing theoretical conceptualizations and research findings on trauma bonding along with complexities of intervention and treatment within several diverse contexts. The chapter features those situations or settings which are primarily characterized by interpersonal violence. Next, the chapter reviews critical concerns regarding methodological weaknesses of previous research focused on trauma bonding and recommends several potential avenues for integrated theory and research. Lastly, implications for policy related to trauma bonding within the field of interpersonal violence are explored.


Nova Science Publishers

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.