Changes in cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone in women victims of physical and psychological intimate partner violence.Biol Psychiatry. 2004 Aug 15; 56(4):233-40.BP
Although intimate partner violence (IPV) has a great impact on women's health, few studies have assessed the consequences on physiologic responses.
Women abused by their intimate male partners either physically (n = 70) or psychologically (n = 46) were compared with nonabused control women (n = 46). Information about sociodemographic characteristics, smoking, pharmacologic treatment, lifetime history of victimization (childhood and adulthood), and mental health status (depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder, PTSD) was obtained through structured interviews. Saliva samples were collected at 8 am and 8 pm for 4 consecutive days to determine morning and evening basal levels of cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
Women who were victims of IPV had more severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, and incidence of PTSD and higher levels of evening cortisol and morning and evening DHEA compared with control women. Intimate partner violence was the main factor predicting the alterations in hormonal levels after controlling for age, smoking, pharmacologic treatment, and lifetime history of victimization. Mental health status did not have a mediating effect on the impact of IPV on hormonal levels.
This study shows that both physical and psychological IPV have a significant impact on the endocrine systems of women.