Intimate Partner Violence and Depressive Symptoms Before Pregnancy, During Pregnancy, and After Infant Delivery: An Exploratory Study

Ijeoma Nwabuzor Ogbonnaya, Rebecca J. Macy, Lawrence L. Kupper, Sandra L. Martin, Sarah E. Bledsoe-Mansori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy also tend to experience depressive symptoms. Unfortunately, little is known about how victimized women's levels of depressive symptoms change longitudinally before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and after infant delivery. In addition, few studies have used a comparison group of women to determine if levels of depressive symptoms among victimized women differ from depressive symptom levels in women who have not experienced IPV. To help address these knowledge gaps, we examined longitudinal trends in levels of depressive symptoms among a sample of 76 women who did (n = 33) and did not (n = 43) experience physical IPV during pregnancy. Using multilevel analysis, we estimated the relationship of physical IPV victimization and women's depressive symptom levels across six time periods: (a) the year before pregnancy, (b) first and second trimesters, (c) third trimester, (d) the first month postpartum, (e) Months 2 to 6 postpartum, and (f) Months 7 to 12 postpartum. Women who experienced physical IPV victimization during pregnancy had significantly higher levels of depressive symptoms during each time period (p<.05). No significant difference between the two groups was found in the rate of change in levels of depressive symptoms over time. These findings point to the importance of screening for IPV within health care settings and suggest that women physically abused during pregnancy need safety interventions that are coordinated with interventions targeting symptoms of depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2112-2133
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of interpersonal violence
Volume28
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • battered women
  • children exposed to domestic violence
  • domestic violence
  • mental health and violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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