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The Prevalence of Mental Health Disorders in a Community Sample of Female Victims of Intimate Partner Violence

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Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a serious, devastating, and prevalent problem. IPV places women at risk for negative health consequences, including increased mental health disorders. The majority of research to date has focused on mental health disorders among women in domestic violence shelters, and research is needed that examines mental health disorders among a broader range of women experiencing IPV. Therefore, this study examined the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and substance abuse disorders in a community sample of IPV victims (N = 94) using diagnostic interviews. Results showed that the majority of women met diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder, with PTSD being the most common mental health disorder. Furthermore, psychological abuse was a significant predictor of both PTSD and depression, whereas physical aggression did not predict these outcomes. Implications of these findings for treatment and intervention work with battered women are discussed.

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