Abstract: Mental Health Effects of Joint Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences and Intimate Partner Violence Among Men and Women (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

Mental Health Effects of Joint Exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences and Intimate Partner Violence Among Men and Women

Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 14, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Lisa Fedina, PhD, Transitional Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, MI
Lolita Moss, Doctoral Student, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI
Jordan Devylder, PhD, Associate Professor, Fordham University, New York, NY
Richard Barth, PhD, Dean of the School of Social Work, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
Background: Adverse childhood experiences of abuse and neglect (ACEs) have been associated with increased odds for intimate partner violence (IPV) exposure later in life, however, few studies have assessed this relationship among both men and women. Further, ACE and IPV exposures have been independently associated with increased risk for poor mental health outcomes, yet, the combined and distinct effects of exposure to ACEs and IPV on mental health among men and women is not clearly understood. Using a general population sample, this study examines the relationship between childhood abuse and adult IPV exposure, including joint exposure to both forms of violence, and their associations with psychological distress and suicidal ideation among men and women.


Methods: Data were used from the 2017 Survey of Police-Public Encounters (SPPE II), which is a cross-sectional general population survey of adults from Baltimore and New York City (N = 1,000). Measures of IPV included physical violence, psychological aggression, rape, and sexual coercion. ACE measures included childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and neglect. Chi-square tests were used to examine bivariate relationships between ACE and IPV sub-types. Logistic and OLS regression were used to examine multivariate associations between 1) violence exposure status (ACE only, IPV only, both ACE and IPV, none) and 2) cumulative violence exposure (i.e. level of exposure across all sub-types ranging from 0 to 8) and mental health symptoms (i.e. psychological distress and suicidal ideation) by gender, adjusting for age, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, income, and education in each model.

Results: Each ACE sub-type (physical, sexual, psychological, and neglect) was significantly associated with each IPV sub-type (physical, psychological, rape, and sexual coercion) among men and women at the bivariate level. Specifically, men and women with an ACE history reported higher rates of all forms of IPV in adulthood. Multivariate results suggest that joint exposure to ACEs and IPV was significantly associated with increased psychological distress among men, whereas IPV only and ACE only was not significant in the model. For women, IPV only and joint exposure to ACEs and IPV were associated with increased psychological distress, whereas ACEs only exposure was not. Higher levels of cumulative violence exposure, were associated with increased levels of psychological distress and greater odds for suicidal ideation in both men and women.


Conclusion: Findings suggest that joint exposure to both ACEs and IPV in adulthood have the greatest impact on mental health among both men and women; however, IPV only remained a significant predictor of psychological distress among women. This suggests that both joint exposure to ACEs and IPV as well as experiences of IPV only uniquely contributes to psychological distress symptoms among women. Cumulative exposure to violence, regardless of the form of violence (ACEs or IPV), has an additive effective on suicide risk among both men and women. Screening and clinical interventions for IPV should consider the additive effects of joint and cumulative exposures on current mental health as well as the unique impacts of IPV on mental health for women.