Intimate Partner Violence and Women’s Mental Health: A Population-Based Study from Paraguay

Kanako Ishida, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Florina I. Serbanescu, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Mary M. Goodwin, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Mercedes Melian, Paraguay Center for Population Studies (CEPEP)

This study examines the association between intimate partner violence (IPV) and mental health, using the Self Reporting Questionnaire of 20 questions (SRQ-20) administered to a nationally representative sample of Paraguayan women aged 15–44 years. We show that IPV independently increases the risk for common mental disorders (CMD) and suicidal ideation, controlling for women’s socioeconomic and marital status and history of abuse during childhood and their male partners’ unemployment and alcohol consumption. The introduction of IPV variables more substantially improves the explanatory power of the model, particularly for suicidal ideation than the introduction of control variables. Emotional abuse, regardless of time of the episode, has the strongest adverse effect on the risk for CMD whereas recent physical abuse most substantially increases suicidal ideation. These findings suggest that efforts to identify women with potential mental health problems, particularly suicidal ideation, should include screening for the types and history of IPV victimization.

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Presented in Session 189: Gender Stratification and Health