Gender-based violence associated with lifetime risk of mental illness and disability, research shows

August 02, 2011

Women who experience gender-based violence such as rape, sexual assault, intimate partner violence and stalking have a higher lifetime prevalence of mental health disorders, dysfunction and disability, new Australian research shows.

The survey of 4,451 women aged 16 to 85 used international instruments developed by the World Health Organisation. Around 15 percent of Australian women report sexual assault, while eight percent report being raped. About eight percent report physical intimate partner violence and 10 percent stalking.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics' National Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey (2007) were analysed by researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study is the most comprehensive ever undertaken of gender-based violence in a nationally representative sample of women.

It shows the four most common types of gender-based violence are strongly associated with a wide range of problems for women including more severe current mental disorder, higher rates of three or more lifetime mental disorders, physical disability, mental disability, impaired quality of life, and overall disability.

"It was the strength of these associations that was most shocking," said study leader, Dr Susan Rees, from UNSW's School of Psychiatry. "There is an overwhelming link between gender violence and key indicators of women's mental health, wellbeing and risk of suicide attempts."

"For women exposed to two types of gender-based violence the lifetime rate of mental disorder was 69 percent and for three or more types of gender-based violence, it was 89.4 percent. This compares with a rate of 28 percent for women who have not experienced violence. The link with gender-based violence was particularly strong for posttraumatic stress disorder."

"This research highlights the need to ensure that expert mental health care is a central component of gender-based violence programs. Similarly, psychiatric services need to be better equipped to assist women with mental health disorders who have experienced such violence," Dr Rees said.
-end-
The work was supported by a grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council.

University of New South Wales

Related Mental Health Articles from Brightsurf:

Mental health strained by disaster
A new study found that suicide rates increase during all types of disasters -- including severe storms, floods, hurricanes and ice storms -- with the largest overall increase occurring two years after a disaster.

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

World Mental Health Day -- CACTUS releases report of largest researcher mental health survey
On the occasion of 'World Mental Health Day' 2020, CACTUS, a global scientific communications company, has released a global survey on mental health, wellbeing and fulfilment in academia.

Mental illness, mental health care use among police officers
A survey study of Texas police officers examines how common mental illness and mental health care use are in a large urban department.

COVID-19 outbreak and mental health
The use of online platforms to guide effective consumption of information, facilitate social support and continue mental health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic is discussed in this Viewpoint.

COVID-19 may have consequences for mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be adversely affecting mental health among hospitalised patients, the healthcare professionals treating them and the general population.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Mental health issues among police officers are a 'substantial health concern,' with around 1 in 4 potentially drinking at hazardous levels and around 1 in 7 meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression, finds a pooled data analysis of the available international evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Examining health insurance nondiscrimination policies with mental health among gender minority individuals
A large private health insurance database was used to examine the association between between health insurance nondiscrimination policies and mental health outcomes for gender minority individuals.

Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.

Read More: Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.