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Intimate Partner Violence and Current Mental Health Needs Among Female Veterans.

Iverson KM, Vogt D, Dichter ME, Carpenter SL, Kimerling R, Street AE, Gerber MR. Intimate Partner Violence and Current Mental Health Needs Among Female Veterans. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM. 2015 Nov 1; 28(6):772-6.

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BACKGROUND: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) recommends screening female patients for intimate partner violence (IPV), yet few studies inform IPV screening efforts among this population. This study examined the proportion of women who experienced IPV within the past year and the associations between IPV and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol dependence, mental health multimorbidity (ie, 2 or 3 of these conditions), and military sexual trauma (MST) among female veterans. METHODS: A cross-sectional mail survey of 160 female VHA patients with an intimate partner within the past year was conducted in 2012 in New England. Self-reported IPV was assessed using the Hurt, Insult, Threaten, Scream screening tool. The survey also included validated screening measures of depression (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale), PTSD (PTSD Checklist-Civilian), alcohol misuse (10-item Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test), and MST. RESULTS: Approximately 37% of women reported IPV within the past year on the Hurt, Insult, Threaten, Scream tool. Odds ratios for the associations between reporting IPV and mental health outcomes ranged between 2.75 and 3.67. With the exception of alcohol dependence, IPV remained strongly associated with mental health conditions when adjusting for MST. CONCLUSIONS: These findings can increase provider knowledge of the strong connection between past-year IPV and mental health conditions among female veterans. This may encourage IPV screening and facilitate appropriate referrals, treatment conceptualization, and planning within the VHA and other health care settings.

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