Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 99-132

First online:

Intimate Partner Violence as a Risk Factor for Mental Disorders: A Meta-Analysis

  • Jacqueline M. GoldingAffiliated withInstitute for Health & Aging, University of California

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This article reviews literature on the prevalence of mental health problems among women with a history of intimate partner violence. The weighted mean prevalence of mental health problems among battered women was 47.6% in 18 studies of depression, 17.9% in 13 studies of suicidality, 63.8% in 11 studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 18.5% in 10 studies of alcohol abuse, and 8.9% in four studies of drug abuse. These were typically inconsistent across studies. Weighted mean odds ratios representing associations of these problems with violence ranged from 3.55 to 5.62, and were typically consistent across studies. Variability was accounted for by differences in sampling frames. Dose-response relationships of violence to depression and PTSD were observed. Although research has not addressed many criteria for causal inferences, the existing research is consistent with the hypothesis that intimate partner violence increases risk for mental health problems. The appropriate way to conceptualize these problems deserves careful attention.

intimate partner violence mental health depression posttraumatic stress disorder substance abuse meta-analysis