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Domestic Violence May Double Risk of Some Mental Health Issues

Australian researchers have found that some forms of domestic violence double victims’ risk of depression and anxiety disorders later in life. Intimate partner violence was found to be especially problematic; such abuse by either men or women increases  risk.

University of Queensland researchers explain that in the study they found many victims of intimate partner violence at age 21 showed signs of mental illness at the age of 30. They found women were more likely to develop depression while men experienced varying anxiety disorders.

Intimate partner violence classifies physical abuse as pushing, shoving and smacking. UQ researcher Emeritus Professor Jake Najman said the team also found equal levels of abuse by men and women.

“The number of men and women who experience intimate partner violence is very similar, leading us to believe couples are more likely to abuse each other,” Professor Najman said.

“People generally don’t end up in the hospital or a shelter, but there is a serious mental burden from this type of abuse.”

The research, which appears in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, showed de facto couples and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were more likely to be involved in these types of abusive relationships.

Emotional abuse involves comments that make the person feel worthless.

Then there is harassment — constant and distressing nagging that may have long-term consequences for those on the receiving end.

“It also raises the question, to what extent is this type of violent behavior not just a characteristic of the relationship the couple has with each other, but with other people around them and possibly their children,” explains Najman.

“There is a range of treatment and counseling programs available for couples and families to try and improve the way they relate to one another.”

Source: University of Queensland

Domestic Violence May Double Risk of Some Mental Health Issues

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2020). Domestic Violence May Double Risk of Some Mental Health Issues. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 30 Jan 2020 (Originally: 30 Jan 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 30 Jan 2020
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