Intimate partner violence and mental health consequences in women attending family practice in Spain.Psychosom Med. 2005 Sep-Oct; 67(5):791-7.PM
Despite the abundant literature on the consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV) on mental health, psychological abuse has rarely been considered, and the separate effects of the different types of IPV have been understudied. The aim of this study was to analyze the association between physical, psychological, and sexual IPV and women's mental health.
The sample included 1402 randomly selected women attending general practice in Spain. Information about IPV, use of psychoactive drugs, psychological distress (measured with the 12-item General Health Questionnaire), and self-perceived health status was obtained through a self-administered structured questionnaire.
Lifetime IPV prevalence was 32%. All types of abuse were significantly associated with psychological distress, tranquilizers, and antidepressants use. Compared with never-abused women, those referring psychological abuse solely were more likely to present negative mental health indicators. Women reporting physical abuse presented worse self-perceived health than never-abused women (odds ratio [OR] = 1.74; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.04-2.91 for combined physical and psychological abuse; OR = 2.91; 95% CI = 1.73-4.91 for combined physical, psychological, and sexual abuse). Women referring the 3 types of abuse were the most likely to present impaired mental health. Increased intensity and duration of some abusive experiences also led to increased levels of association with poor mental health.
This study underlines that different types of IPV can affect mental health differently. Results also show that IPV can be present even when there are no physical injuries and highlight the need for clinicians to screen for psychological, as well as physical and sexual, IPV.