Associations of Emotional, Physical, or Sexual Intimate Partner Violence and Depression Symptoms Among South African Women in a Prospective Cohort Study

Chukwuemeka N. Okafor, Whitney Barnett, Heather J. Zar, Raymond Nhapi, Nastassja Koen, Steve Shoptaw, Dan J. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Violence against women remains a significant public health problem globally. The majority of longitudinal studies documenting the negative impact of intimate partner violence (IPV) on the mental health of women come from high-income countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the longitudinal association between emotional, physical, or sexual IPV and depression symptoms among South African women in a prospective cohort study. Participants were 981 South African women enrolled in the Drakenstein Child Health Study—a cohort study investigating the early life determinants of child health. Interview data from four time-points (antenatal care visit, 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months postpartum) were included. The primary independent variable was self-reported emotional, physical, and sexual IPV in the past 12 months. Depressive symptoms were assessed at each time-point with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS); a cutoff score of ⩾13 was used to define significant depression symptoms. We used pooled-multivariable logistic regression models to determine associations between the three different forms of IPV and significant depression symptoms while adjusting for time-fixed and time-updated covariates. The mean age of the sample at antenatal care visit was 27 years (standard deviation = 6.0). In the adjusted model including all forms of IPV and adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, substance use, and childhood trauma, emotional (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] =1.55, 95% confidence interval (CI): [1.02, 2.34]; p =.039)] and sexual (aOR = 2.02, 95% CI: [1.10, 3.72]; p <.001) IPV were significantly associated with significant depression symptoms. The relationship between physical IPV and significant depression symptoms was not statistically significant (aOR = 0.68, 95% CI: [0.44, 1.05]; p =.485). Our study confirms findings from high-income countries of the association between IPV and depressive symptoms among women in South Africa. Routine screening for IPV, including emotional IPV and intervention programs for IPV among women, is needed in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP5060-NP5083
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume36
Issue number9-10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • alcohol and drugs
  • alcohol and drugs
  • child abuse
  • depression symptoms
  • intimate partner violence
  • mental health and violence
  • with Hx of abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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