Mental Health Patients More Likely to Be Victims of Domestic Violence
Men and women suffering from a wide range of mental health disorders are more likely to have been the victims of domestic violence than those without mental health issues, according to researchers from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry and the University of Bristol.
Previous studies have found strong links between domestic violence and depression, but this is the first study to look at a range of mental disorders in both male and female victims, according to a news release.
Researchers reviewed data from 41 studies around the world. They found when compared to women without mental health problems, women with depressive disorders were around two and a half times more likely to have experienced domestic violence sometime over their adult lifetime. Women with anxiety disorders were more than three and a half times more likely to have experienced domestic violence, and women with post-traumatic stress disorder were around seven times more likely.
Women with obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were also at an increased risk of domestic violence compared to women without mental health problems.
Men with all types of mental disorders were also at an increased risk of domestic violence. However, the data indicated it is less common for men to be victims of repeated, severe domestic violence.
The domestic violence incidents in question occurred both before and after mental health disorders were diagnosed, according to the researchers.
“In this study, we found that both men and women with mental health problems are at an increased risk of domestic violence,” said Louise Howard, PhD, senior author of the study from King’s Institute of Psychiatry. “The evidence suggests that there are two things happening: domestic violence can often lead to victims developing mental health problems, and people with mental health problems are more likely to experience domestic violence.”
According to the EverydayHealth, The researchers hope the review will draw attention to the mental health needs of survivors of domestic violence, and remind mental health providers that experience of domestic violence may accompany mental health problems, according to the news release
The study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research and published Wednesday in the internationally, peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS One, published by PLOS, a nonprofit organization by in-house staff members and an editorial board.
“Mental health professionals need to be aware of the link between domestic violence and mental health problems, and ensure that their patients are safe from domestic violence and are treated for the mental health impact of such abuse,” said Howard.