Methods: This study included 457 female survivors of IPV with an average age of 36 who were receiving services at 14 domestic violence programs across seven states and Puerto Rico. The endogenous variable in this study was quality of life, and the exogenous variables were four forms of abuse (economic, physical, psychological, and sexual). Depression, anxiety, and PTSD were included as mediating variables in this model. Path analyses were conducted using AMOS and missing data were managed with Maximum Likelihood estimation.
Results: The final model indicated a good model fit (CFI, TIL, NFI > .95, RMSEA =. 05). The results indicated that only economic and psychological abuse had indirect effects on quality of life. Experiencing economic abuse was directly associated with higher anxiety (β=
= 0.9, p<.01) and depressive symptoms (β= = .12, p<.01). Psychological abuse was directly associated with higher depressive (β= .20 p<.01) and posttraumatic symptoms (β=.29, p<.01). Anxiety, depressive, and posttraumatic symptoms were all directly associated with quality of life (β= -.17 p<.01, β= -.41 p<.01, and β= -.13 p<.01, respectively).
Conclusions: The results indicate that increases of economic and psychological abuse experiences have the strongest association with increases in anxiety, depressive, and posttraumatic symptoms which in turn are associated with decreases in quality of life among IPV survivors. While IPV experiences of this sample of survivors were not directly associated with changes of quality of life, they were indirectly associated through their association with changes in anxiety, depressive, and posttraumatic symptoms.
Implications: These findings are based on cross-sectional data and point to the need for further research to examine the long-term impacts of abuse, especially economic and financial abuse, on the mental health and quality of life of survivors. Furthermore, future research and practice should include prevention and interventions that address the impact of economic abuse experiences on mental health symptomatology.