By JANICE WOOD Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 8, 2013
Women who are victims of domestic violence are at a higher risk of becoming depressed, according to a new study.
Conversely, the new study also found that women who are depressed are at an increased risk of experiencing violence from their partners.
The study suggested a link between intimate partner violence and suicide among women. There was little evidence to support a similar finding in men, the researchers add.
The researchers, led by Karen Devries, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, reached these conclusions after reviewing published studies that followed more than 36,000 people over a period of time, examining intimate partner violence, depression, and suicide attempts.
In their analysis, the researchers found that in women, intimate partner violence nearly doubled the odds of subsequent depression.
They also found the reverse — women with depression had nearly double the odds of subsequently experiencing intimate partner violence.
For men, the researchers found some evidence of a link between intimate partner violence and later depression, but no evidence of a link between depressive symptoms and subsequent intimate partner violence.
The findings suggest that interventions to prevent domestic violence need to include a way to reduce depression, according to the researchers.
“For women already receiving mental health treatments or presenting with symptoms of depression, attention must be paid to experiences of violence and risk of future violence,” they said in the study.
More research is needed to explore why having depressive symptoms can lead to domestic violence, the researchers add.
“It may be that young women with depressive symptoms are predisposed to choose partners who use violence,” they concluded.
The study was published in PLoS Medicine.
Source: Public Library of Science