Gender-Based Violence Tied to Women's Mental Health Disorders

Women who experience three or more types of GBV have increased mental, mood, substance use disorders

TUESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Gender-based violence (GBV) is significantly associated with mental health disorder, dysfunction, and disability in a representative sample of Australian women, according to a study published in the Aug. 3 violence/human-rights themed-issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Susan Rees, Ph.D., from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues investigated the association between GBV and the severity and comorbidity of mental disorder with psychosocial function in 4,451 women aged 16 to 85 years. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 of the World Health Organization's World Mental Health Survey Initiative was used to evaluate lifetime prevalence of any mental disorder, anxiety, mood disorder, substance use disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The investigators found that 27.4 percent of the women reported at least one type of GBV. For the 139 women reporting three or four types of GBV, the rates of mental disorders were 77 percent for anxiety disorders (odds ratio [OR], 10.06), 52.5 percent for mood disorder (OR, 3.59), 47.1 percent for substance use disorder (OR, 5.61), 56.2 percent for PTSD (OR, 15.90), 89.4 percent for any mental disorder (OR, 11.0), and 34.7 percent for suicide attempts (OR, 14.80). More severe current mental disorder (OR, 4.60), higher rates of three or more lifetime disorders (OR, 7.79), physical (OR, 4.00) and mental disability (OR, 7.14), impaired quality of life (OR, 2.96), an increase in disability days (OR, 3.14), and overall disability (OR, 2.73) were also associated with GBV.

"Gender-based violence was associated with all three broad classes (mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders) of lifetime mental health disorders, with higher rates of disorder in those women experiencing the greatest exposure," the authors write.

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