Depressed women may be at higher risk of experiencing intimate partner violence

Research from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine suggests that there is a two-way link between intimate partner violence (IPV) and depression: Women exposed to IPV are at nearly twice the risk for becoming depressed, and women who are depressed are almost twice as likely to experience IPV. The researchers also found a link between IPV and suicide among women. 

The findings are based on a comprehensive review of published longitudinal studies of IPV, depression and suicide attempts that included more than 36,000 people from high and middle-income countries.

The authors also noted that among men included in the studies there was some evidence that IPV is linked to subsequent depression, but they found little evidence to support that depressed men are at higher risk for IPV. 

In a press release from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Dr. Karen Devries, lead author and social epidemiologist, said:

“We hope these findings will prompt service providers seeing depressed women to consider women’s possible histories of violence and if they may currently be experiencing violence, and to adjust models of care accordingly. Our results also suggest that programmes to prevent violence against women could reduce the amount of depression in the population—further research is needed to test whether this is the case.”

The paper, Intimate Partner Violence and Incident Depressive Symptoms and Suicide Attempts: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies, was published online on May 7 in PLoS Medicine. 

Learn more about Polaris’s outcomes management systems for detecting domestic violence, and assessing its mental health impact, as well as other factors related to revictimization: Polaris DV for the medical sector and Polaris DV for the public sector.