Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Put Women at Higher Risk for Mental Disorders
A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association states women who’ve been the victim of rape, sexual assault, stalking, or intimate-partner violence are much more likely to develop a mental disorder.
In the study, researchers in Australia found 57 percent of women who’d suffered at least one incident of abuse also had a history of depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, or anxiety — including panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. That’s more than twice the rate of women who had no such abuse.
These findings, while not unexpected, prove the need for doctors and other health professionals to ask women about past episodes of violence.
“Almost every public health organization in the country recommends screening for violence, so we’re in a really good situation to really move forward,” says Andrea Gielen, Sc.D., director for the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Johns Hopkins University. “I think this study really sets up a very hopeful future for providing help to these women who really need it.”