Intimate partner violence is a threat to women's health. Relative to other racial/ethnic groups, African American and immigrant women are at an increased risk for violence. However, despite the growing presence of Caribbean Black immigrants in this country, few studies have examined the association between severe physical intimate partner violence (SPIPV) and the health of Caribbean Black women currently residing in the United States. This study examined the mental and physical health of U.S. Caribbean Black women with and without a history of SPIPV. We also explored the role of generational status-first, second, or third-in association with the physical and mental health of abused Caribbean Black women.
Data from the National Survey of American Life, the largest and the only known representative study on Caribbeans residing in the United States, were analyzed. The World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WMH-CIDI) was used to determine DSM-IV mental disorders. The presence of physical health conditions was based on respondents' self-reports of physician diagnoses.
The findings indicate an association between SPIPV and the mental and physical health status of U.S. Caribbean Black women. Rates of physical conditions and mental health disorders were generally higher among women with a history of SPIPV than those without a history. Generational status also played a role in women's health outcomes.
The study has interventions and preventive implications for both detecting and addressing the health needs of U.S. Caribbean Black women who experience severe physical abuse by an intimate partner.