Friday, September 16, 2011

Victims of Intimate Partner Violence at Significantly Increased Risk of Psychiatric Disorders

Source: American Psychiatric Association

ARLINGTON, Va. (Aug. 1, 2011) — Mental disorders are significantly more common among victims of intimate partner violence than among nonvictims, according to research appearing in the August issue of the American Psychiatric Association’s journal Psychiatric Services.

Of adults interviewed, about 5 percent reported being victims of intimate partner violence including 5.6 percent of women and 5.8 percent of men. New onset of psychiatric disorders was more than twice as common among victims, 22 percent, compared to nonvictims, 9.7 percent. More than 25,000 adults participated in the study, including 1,600 who reported being victims of intimate partner violence, as part of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.

For most of the violent acts, the frequency of the acts directly related to the incidence of a psychiatric disorders—an increased frequency of the violent acts contributed to increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder. Intimate partner violence was associated with an increased risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, substance use disorders, bipolar disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

The study looked at adults who reported being married, recently married, or in a romantic relationship in the past 12 months and looked at minor and severe forms of intimate partner violence. As with previous research, they did not find significant different between genders. Men and women were equally likely to have injuries requiring to medical care, however, women were more likely to be victims of sexual violence.

The authors conclude, “Intimate partner violence is highly prevalent in the United States, affects both men and women, and is associated with onset of a broad range of psychiatric disorders.” Health care providers have an opportunity to intervene and to lower the risk of psychiatric disorder onset.

The researchers, led by Mayumi Okuda, M.D., are affiliated with the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Department of Psychiatry, College of Surgeons of Columbia University.

The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society whose physician members specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses, including substance use disorders. Visit the APA at and

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