Impact of intimate partner violence on unmet need for mental health care: results from the NSDUH

Sherry Lipsky, Raul Caetano
Psychiatric Services: a Journal of the American Psychiatric Association 2007, 58 (6): 822-9

OBJECTIVES: This study examined risk factors and ethnic differences in the relationship between intimate partner violence and unmet need for mental health treatment (perceived need for but did not receive treatment) in the general population.

METHODS: The 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health was used; the analysis presented here included black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white women ages 18 to 49 who were cohabiting (N=7,924). Logistic regression was used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

RESULTS: Victims of partner violence were twice as likely as nonvictims (AOR=2.11, CI=1.41-3.16) overall to report unmet need, after analyses controlled for socioeconomic factors and substance abuse. In ethnic-specific models, only Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women who experienced partner violence were more likely than their nonabused counterparts to report unmet need for treatment (AOR 4.11, CI=1.34-12.60, and AOR=2.12, CI=1.34-3.35, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that women who experienced partner violence, especially Hispanic women, are at increased risk of not receiving needed mental health care. These findings highlight the need for culturally sensitive and specific outreach about the effects of partner violence on women's mental health and how to access these services.

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