Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been known to adversely affect the mental health of victims. Research has tended to focus on the mental health impact of physical violence rather than considering other forms of violence.
Objective: To systematically review the literature in order to identify the impact of all types of IPV victimisation on various mental health outcomes.
Method: A systematic review of 11 electronic databases (2004-2014) was conducted. Fifty eight papers were identified and later described and reviewed in relation to the main objective.
Results: Main findings suggest that IPV can have increasing adverse effects on the mental health of victims in comparison with those who have never experienced IPV or those experiencing other traumatic events. The most significant outcomes were associations between IPV experiences with depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. Findings confirm previous observations that the severity and extent of IPV exposure can increase mental health symptoms. The effect of psychological violence on mental health is more prominent than originally thought. Individual differences such as gender and childhood experience of violence also increase IPV risk and affect mental health outcomes in diverse ways.
Conclusions: Psychological violence should be considered as a more serious form of IPV which can affect the mental health of victims. Experiencing more than one form of IPV can increase severity of outcomes. Researchers should look at IPV as a multi-dimensional experience. A uniformed definition and measure of IPV could help advance knowledge and understanding of this disparaging global issue.
- Domestic violence
- Intimate partner violence
- Mental health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health