Mental illness linked to domestic abuse

Dec. 28, 2012 at 7:01 PM
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BRISTOL, England, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Men and women with mental health disorders are more likely to have experienced domestic violence than the general population, British researchers say.

Study co-authors Gene Feder of the University of Bristol's School of Social and Community Medicine and Louise Howard of King's Institute of Psychiatry reviewed data from 41 studies worldwide.

Compared with women without mental health problems, women with depressive disorders were about 2.5 times more likely to have experienced domestic violence, women with anxiety disorders were more than 3.5 times more likely and women with post-traumatic stress disorder were around seven times more likely.

Women with other disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, common mental health problems, 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, prevalence estimates for men were lower than those for women, indicating it was less common for men to be victims of repeated severe domestic violence, the researchers said.

"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," Howard said in a statement.

The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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