Of Unsound Mind and Body: A Statistical Test of the Association Between Intimate Partner Violence and Chronic Physical and Mental Health Outcomes

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Brice, Darryl Andre
thesis / dissertation description
A growing body of literature, both academic and in the popular media, has focused on intimate partner violence (IPV) and its consequences. In addition to the acute physical, social, and economic consequence of IPV, IPV clearly causes great stress for IPV women. While research has shown an association between exposure to external stressors and poor chronic physical and mental health, known as the "stress-health hypothesis," few studies have extrapolated this to examine IPV as a stressor. The goal of this research is to do just that using preexisting data from the Chicago Women's Health Risk Study (CWHRS). The CWHRS is a quasi-experimental cross-sectional design conducted from 1997-1998. Participants completed an initial interview and then another interview one year later. The interview focused on the respondent's experiences of IPV as well as self-reported demographic characteristics and self-reported physical health measures. Using descriptive statistics as well as regression and factor analyses, my research tested the associations between IPV and poor physical and mental health. After controlling for known demographic risk factors for IPV and for poor physical and mental health, IPV victimization (controlling for severity) was modeled as a predictor for self-reported health. The results of this study found a relationship between IPV and certain physical and mental health outcomes. In addition, support social support was found to provide a buffering effect between IPV and physical and mental health outcomes.