The impact of physical, psychological, and sexual intimate male partner violence on women's mental health: depressive symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder, state anxiety, and suicide.J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2006 Jun; 15(5):599-611.JW
This study aimed to determine the impact of lifetime physical, psychological, and sexual intimate male partner violence (IPV) on the mental health of women, after controlling for the contribution of lifetime victimization. The comorbidity of depressive symptoms and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and their relation to state anxiety and suicide were also assessed.
Physically/psychologically (n = 75) and psychologically abused women (n = 55) were compared with nonabused control women (n = 52). Information about sociodemographic characteristics, lifetime victimization, and mental health status (depressive and state anxiety symptoms, PTSD, and suicide) was obtained through face-to-face structured interviews.
Women exposed to physical/psychological and psychological IPV had a higher incidence and severity of depressive and anxiety symptoms, PTSD, and thoughts of suicide than control women, with no differences between the two abused groups. The concomitance of sexual violence was associated with a higher severity of depressive symptoms in both abused groups and a higher incidence of suicide attempts in the physically/psychologically abused group. The incidence of PTSD alone was very rare, and depressive symptoms were either alone or comorbid with PTSD. The severity of state anxiety was higher in abused women with depressive symptoms or comorbidity, as was the incidence of suicidal thoughts in the physically/psychologically abused group. Lifetime victimization was not a predictor of the deterioration of mental health in this study.
These findings indicate that psychological IPV is as detrimental as physical IPV, with the exception of effects on suicidality, which emphasizes that psychological IPV should be considered a major type of violence by all professionals involved.