Abstract: Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Health: Sex-Disaggregated Associations Among Adolescents and Young Adults in Uganda (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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726P Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Health: Sex-Disaggregated Associations Among Adolescents and Young Adults in Uganda

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Flora Cohen, Doctoral Student, Washington University in Saint Louis, MO
Ilana Seff, MPH, Doctoral Candidate, Columbia University, NY
Fred Ssewamala, PhD, Professor, Columbia University, New York City, NY
Timothy Opobo, Executive Director, AfriChild, Uganda
Lindsay Stark, Associate Professor, Washington University in Saint Louis, MO
Background and Purpose: Experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization have well-established associations with poor mental health. There is also burgeoning evidence regarding the association between IPV perpetration and mental health in a small number of countries. However, there is a paucity of data about the gendered differences for these IPV experiences within the African context. This study examines the association between IPV victimization, perpetration, and mental health outcomes for male and female adolescents and young adults in Uganda. Findings are intended to inform policy and programmatic planning for IPV prevention and recovery interventions.

Methods: Data on IPV perpetration were available for a nationally representative sample of 1373 males and 2022 females in Uganda through the use of the Violence Against Children Surveys. Observations were weighted to be representative of 13-24-year-olds in Uganda. Study procedures used multivariate logistic regression models in order to examine associations between ever-perpetration of IPV and four self-reported mental health variables: severe sadness, feelings of worthlessness, suicide ideation, and alcohol abuse. Models controlled for age, marital status, schooling, and past exposure to violence. Models were sex-disaggregated in order to examine sex-specific associations. Standard errors were adjusted for sampling stratification and clustering.

Results: Males were more than twice as likely as females to perpetrate IPV (14% v. 6%, respectively; P<0.001), while odds of perpetration for both sexes were higher for those ever experiencing IPV (aOR=12.12 for males; aOR=4.73 for females). Male perpetrators had 2.93 greater odds of experiencing suicidal ideation (95% CI [1.78, 4.82], P<0.001) and increased drinking behaviors (2.21, 95% CI [1.39, 3.50], P<0.001) when compared to non-perpetrating males. Additionally, female perpetrators had 2.59 times greater odds of suicidal ideation (95% CI, [1.34,4.99], P<0.01), as compared to non-perpetrating females.

Conclusion and Implications: Our findings among youth and adolescents demonstrated associated but different experiences for males and females. Findings indicate the importance of understanding the relationship between IPV victimization and perpetration, and addressing these correlates with a gender-sensitive perspective.