Friday, 14 January 2005 - 12:00 PM
This presentation is part of: Poster Session I
Severe Adverse Life Events and Mental Health Among Women with Protective OrdersJennifer Cole, MSW, Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, TK Logan, PhD, Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, and Lisa Shannon, MSW, Center on Drug and Alcohol Research.
Purpose: Cumulative stress plays an important role in the reactions of individuals to negative situations. Research indicates that individuals who encounter a series of stressful situations are less able to adapt positively to future stressful situations because their internal and external resources are depleted (Hobfall et al., 1996). Therefore, the objective of this study is to examine the frequency of adverse life events other than intimate partner violence (IPV) as well as depression, anxiety, and PTSD among IPV victims.
Methods: This presentation reports findings from a study of adult women who were recruited in court and had obtained protective orders against a male intimate partner. A total of 756 women are included in the sample. Participants were asked about major life events, both positive and negative, that occurred in the past year via the Life Experiences Survey (Sarason, Johnson, & Siegel, 1978). Only events that were rated as having a negative impact are included in this analysis. Events related to intimate partner violence or the abusive partners were not included to focus attention on stressors beyond the experience of IPV. Depression and PTSD were measured with modified questions from Mini International Neuropsychiatry Interview (M.I.N.I) (Sheehan et al., 1997) and the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) (Robins, Helzer, Croughan, & Ratcliff, 1981). Anxiety was measured using the anxiety subscale of the BSI (Derogatis, 1993).
Results: Results showed that 20.9% of the women reported no (lowest), 43.3% reported one to two (moderate), and 35.8% reported three or more (highest) adverse events other than those related to the abusive partner in the past year. More women in the highest group reported currently experiencing depression than women in the other two groups (÷2 (2, N = 756) = 10.046, p <.01). In addition women in the highest group had greater mean scores on the anxiety subscale of the BSI (F(2, 753) = 8.060, p < .001) and more days in the past 30 in which a nervous or emotional problem was experienced (F(2, 753) = 7.563, p < .01) than women in the other two groups. The most common adverse events for the moderate group were death of a close family member (11.6%) and a major change in financial status (11.6%). The most common events for the highest group were a major change in financial status (35.4%), trouble with family members (28.8%), and major health problems (28.8%). Logistic regression showed that past year income was negatively associated with depression (p < .001). The number of adverse events in the past year (p < .001) and age (p < .01) were positively associated with depression, controlling for severe physical violence.
Implications for practice: The effects of multiple types of stressors other than violence by a partner should be assessed for by professionals working with IPV victims. Furthermore, the amelioration of internal and external resources that are needed to respond effectively to IPV should be addressed in mental health services.
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