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Ment Health Fam Med. 2012 Jun;9(2):107-14.

Longitudinal association of intimate partner violence and depressive symptoms.

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  • 1Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Division of General Internal Medicine, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, USA.


Purpose The association between intimate partner violence (IPV) and depression has been well established in cross-sectional research, but how IPV is associated with depressive symptoms over time has not been well studied. Methods Using the Central Pennsylvania Women's Health Study, a population-based longitudinal survey of women aged 18-45 (N = 1,420), we performed a two-step logistic regression analysis. In step 1, the association of recent IPV exposure at baseline with depressive symptoms 2 years later was analysed adjusting for relevant covariates; in step 2, we additionally included positive coping strategies (social support, physical activity) and negative coping strategies (binge drinking/drug use, smoking) in the model. Results Baseline IPV was reported by 4.6 percent of the sample and was independently associated with depressive symptoms 2 years later (adjusted or 1.88, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.02-3.45). The strongest predictor was depressive symptoms at baseline, which was associated with a fivefold increase in the likelihood of depressive symptoms at 2-year follow-up. Other predictors of future depressive symptoms were IPV at follow-up, older age, lower educational attainment, and lower household income. When we controlled for potential coping strategies in the model (step 2), the relationship between recent IPV and follow-up depressive symptoms was attenuated (adjusted OR 1.50, 95% CI 0.80-2.80). Conclusions Exposure to IPV increases the likelihood of depressive symptoms occurring two years later. Greater social support and binge drinking/drug use attenuates this association, suggesting that interventions focusing on coping mechanisms may serve to reduce the impact of IPV on future depression.


depression; depressive symptoms; domestic violence; intimate partner violence

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