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Domestic Violence And Mental Illness

Violence against women causes suffering and misery to victims and their families and places a heavy burden on societies worldwide. It mostly happens within intimate relationships or between people known to each other. Violence against women is a social construction based on a societal consensus about the roles and rights of men and women. Two prevalent forms of violence against women are physical and sexual victimization by an intimate partner, and sexual victimization outside intimate relationships.

Explanations of why men engage in aggressive behaviour toward women address different levels, including the macro level of society, the micro level of dyadic interactions, and the individual level of perpetrator characteristics. Prevention efforts are needed that address each of these levels.

Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and binge drinking are among mental health effects of child abuse and intimate partner violence (IPV) experiences among women. Emerging data show the potential mediating role of mental ill health in the relationship of child abuse and IPV. There is evidence that PTSD, depression and alcohol abuse are comorbid common mental disorders and that a bidirectional relationship exists between depression and IPV in some settings.

Furthermore, the temporal direction in the relationship of alcohol abuse and women's IPV experiences from different studies is unclear. We undertook a study with women from the general population to investigate the associations of child abuse, mental ill health and IPV; and describe the underlying pathways between them.

Data is from a household survey employing a multi-stage random sampling approach with 511 women from Gauteng, South Africa. IPV was measured using the WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence Questionnaire. Child abuse was measured using a short form of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Depression was measured using the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD). PTSD symptoms were measured using the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Binge drinking was measured using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) scale. All data analyses were conducted in Stata 13. Regression modelling was used to test the association between variables. Structural equation modelling with full information maximum likelihood estimation accounting for missing data was done to analyse the underlying pathways between variables.

Effects Of Violence Against Women
Violence against women can cause long-term physical and mental health problems. Violence and abuse affect not just the women involved but also their children, families, and communities. These effects include harm to an individual's health, possibly long-term harm to children, and harm to communities such as lost work and homelessness.

Fifty percent of women experienced IPV in their lifetime and 18% experienced IPV in the 12 months before the survey. Twenty three percent of women were depressed, 14% binge drank and 11.6% had PTSD symptoms. Eighty six percent of women had experienced some form of child abuse. Sociodemographic factors associated with recent IPV in multivariate models were younger age and foreign nationality. Depression, PTSD and binge drinking mediated the relationship of child abuse and recent IPV.

Depression, PTSD and binge drinking were also effects of recent IPV. Other factors associated with recent IPV experience included relationship control, having a partner who regularly consumed alcohol and experiencing other life traumatic experiences.

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