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Double damage: Partner violence impacts mental health of over half-million Californians
Date:8/30/2011

Victims who suffer violence at the hands of a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or other intimate partner aren't only brutalized physically; they also suffer disproportionately higher rates of mental health distress, according to a new policy brief from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

Using data from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), researchers found that of the 3.5 million Californians who reported ever having been the victim of intimate partner violence (IPV), more than half a million 594,000 said they experienced recent symptoms of "serious psychological distress," which includes the most serious kinds of diagnosable mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Adult victims of IPV were more than three times as likely as unexposed adults to report serious psychological distress in the past year.

Victims of IPV were also far more likely than non-victims to seek mental health care and to engage in coping strategies like binge drinking.

"Violence does double damage to a victim, leaving both a physical and emotional scar," said the study's lead author, Elaine Zahnd, a sociologist and senior research scientist at the Public Health Institute, which works with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in conducting the California Health Interview Survey. "Policymakers and care providers need to ensure that support services and screenings are available to victims even weeks or months after an attack."

Among the findings:

Women at risk

Women were more than twice as likely as men to have been the victim of IPV (20.5 percent vs. 9.1 percent), with almost 2.5 million women having experienced adult IPV. Although both female (17.5 percent) and male (15.3 percent) victims of adult IPV were more likely than non-victims to report serious psychological distress during the past year, larger numbers of female victims (428,000) were affected by serious psychological dist
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Contact: Gwen Driscoll
gdriscoll@ucla.edu
310-794-0930
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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