Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Health: Does the Threat of Violence Affect a Woman’s Mental Health as Much as the Act of Violence?

Monica Cruz
Patrice Sparks, University of Texas at San Antonio

Social scientists who study intimate partner violence (IPV) portend that psychological abuse can be as detrimental on the mental health of a victim as physical abuse. This paper analyzes this supposition using data from the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were conducted on women who had experienced IPV. A dichotomous measure of poor mental health was considered. The research question for this analysis is the following: Does the threat of violence (psychological aggression) affect a woman’s mental health as much as the act of violence? Preliminary findings indicate that women who experience psychological abuse are as likely to experience poor mental health as women who are victims of physical abuse by their intimate partner. These findings highlight the need to recognize the detrimental effects of psychological abuse on the mental health of women who experience IPV.

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 Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2