New study seeks to increase awareness of link between mental health and domestic violence

New research from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London has broadened our knowledge of the relationship between many different types of mental health problems and domestic violence for both men and women, reports ScienceDaily. Prior to this study, most research centered on depression.

As part of PROVIDE, a five-year research program on domestic violence based in the United Kingdom, the researchers analyzed data from 41 studies around the globe. Along with depression, anxiety and PTSD, the study also considered obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, common mental health problems, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They found that men and women with any of the aforementioned mental health conditions were at an increased risk of domestic violence. More specifically:

  • Women with depressive disorders were about 2.5 times more likely to have a history of domestic violence as adults;
  • Women with anxiety disorders were more than 3.5 times more likely;
  • Women with PTSD were roughly seven times more likely

According to the senior author of the study, Professor Louise Howard, the research also revealed that it’s a two-way street–domestic violence victims often develop mental health problems and mentally ill people are more likely to experience domestic violence.

“‘Mental health professionals need to be aware of the link between domestic violence and mental health problems, and ensure that their patients are safe from domestic violence and are treated for the mental health impact of such abuse,’ [said Professor Howard].”

The study, “Experiences of Domestic Violence and Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” was published in PLOS ONE on December 26, and was funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Learn more about Polaris’s Web-based outcomes assessment system for domestic violence that is designed to empower the survivor and help end the cycle of victimization.