One in five women suffer from intimate partner violence, leading to mental health problems

3 days ago
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A recent Australia study has found that nearly 20 percent of women encounter intimate partner violence (IPV), which in turn could lead to clinically significant mental health problems.

“The findings highlight the extent to which many women deal with IPV and mental health problems without the support that primary healthcare and mental health care could provide and point to the need for more concerted efforts to strengthen health system responses to these frequently related issues,” the researchers said.

The study included a prospective cohort of 1,507 first-time mothers who were administered questionnaires during pregnancy and at 10 years after giving birth. Scales used included the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, Composite Abuse Scale, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist.

At the 10-year follow-up, 19.4 percent of mothers said that they had recently encountered IPV, while over a quarter (26.1 percent) suffered from depressive, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress symptoms. Of note, over 40 percent of women with clinically significant mental health symptoms had also experienced IPV in the year leading up to the follow-up visit.

In particular, logistic regression analysis revealed that recent IPV increased the likelihood of clinically significant depression (odds ratio [OR], 5.1, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 3.3–7.9; p<0.001), anxiety (OR, 5.5, 95 percent CI, s3.5–8.6; p<0.001), and post-traumatic stress (OR, 6.6, 95 percent CI, 4.4–9.8) symptoms by more than five times.

Of note, recent IPV likewise aggravated thoughts of self-harm to a similar and significant degree (OR, 5.6, 95 percent CI, 3.2–9.7; p<0.001).

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