Unemployment among women: examining the relationship of physical and psychological intimate partner violence and posttraumatic stress disorder

Rachel Kimerling, Jennifer Alvarez, Joanne Pavao, Katelyn P Mack, Mark W Smith, Nikki Baumrind
Journal of Interpersonal Violence 2009, 24 (3): 450-63
Prior research has demonstrated that intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with employment instability among poor women. The current study assesses the broader relationship between IPV and women's workforce participation in a population-based sample of 6,698 California women. We examined past-year IPV by analyzing specific effects of physical violence, psychological violence, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms as predictors of unemployment. Results indicated substantial rates of unemployment among women who reported IPV, with rates of 20% among women who experienced psychological violence, 18% among women who experienced physical violence, and 19% among women with PTSD symptoms. When the relationship was adjusted for demographic characteristics and educational attainment, PTSD (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.60; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.22, 2.09) and psychological violence (AOR = 1.78; 95% CI = 1.36, 2.32), but not physical violence, were associated with unemployment. Implications for supported employment programs and workplace responses to IPV are discussed.

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