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Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2010;6:607-28. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-090209-151437.

Violence and women's mental health: the impact of physical, sexual, and psychological aggression.

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  • 1Center for Research on Violence Against Women, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0059, USA.


The reach of violence against women (VAW) has been profoundly felt by women across the United States and around the globe. VAW has been documented for decades as a legal and social justice problem, but as illuminated in this review, it is also a substantial mental health concern. A full understanding of the phenomenon must include discussion of how often it occurs, in what forms, and to whom. This review defines violence against women in its variant forms and examines the literature on the mental health effects associated with these abuse experiences. The effectiveness of the mental health system's response to the complex needs of women suffering battering, rape, stalking, and psychological aggression is also examined. The future of research and the important role of the discipline of psychology in the future of this field of study are discussed.

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