Domestic Violence Seen As Factor In Several Mental Illnesses


Victims of domestic violence are more likely to suffer mental illness: image via toonaripost.comVictims of domestic violence are more likely to suffer mental illness: image via toonaripost.comWhile there is much evidence that child victims of domestic violence experience psychological trauma that may lead to mental illness, a just-published study looks at the prevalence of domestic violence in the lives of adult men and women with mental illnesses....

Research had previously focused on the incidence of domestic violence in cases of persons diagnosed with depression. But Britain;s King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry study, part of a five year NIHR-funded domestic violence project dubbed PROVIDE, looked at the incidence of domestic violence in several mental health disorders.  Using data pooled from 41 studies obtained from many countries, the team was able to estimate the incidence of domestic violence among persons with depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, and eating disorders, among other mental disorders.

The definition of domestic violence in Britain will change in March of 2013 to include persons above 16 years of age, and this definition was used by the King's Institute researchers::

"... any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse."

One of the more striking findings was that among women with PTSD, the chances of having experienced domestic violence was 7 times greater than women with no mental disorders. Sixty-one percent of female PTSD sufferers experience domestic violence. 


One in four women are likely to suffer domestic violenceOne in four women are likely to suffer domestic violence


The prevalence of domestic violence in women with depression is nearly 46 percent; 27.6 percent of women classified with anxiety disorders experience domestic violence.  Women diagnosed with eating disorders, OCD, and other common mental health disorders were also more likely than women with no mental health disorders to experience domestic violence.  Even women diagnosed with schizophrenia have a higher incidence of domestic violence than non mentally ill women.

Though the prevalence rates of domestic violence were lower for men with mental illnesses than for women with the same mental illnesses, they too had significantly higher incidence of domestic violence in their lives than non mentally ill men, regardless of the classification of mental illness.

"We hope this review will draw attention to the mental health needs of survivors of domestic violence and remind general practitioners and mental health teams that experience of domestic violence may lie behind the presentation of mental health problems," stated Gene Feder, co-author of the study, a professor at University of Bristol's School of Social and Community Medicine, and chief investigator of PROVIDE.

Researchers also note, however, that those with mental illness are more likely to be abused than those who do not have mental illness, so the relationship between cause and effect is somewhat fluid in a mentally ill patient who is the victim of domestic violence.

For the complete report, see Exeriences of Domestic Violence and Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, published in Plos One.


via Medical News Today