Intimate Partner Violence and Health: The Roles of Social Support and Communal Mastery in Five American Indian Communities

Katie Schultz, Melissa Walls, Sheryl J. Grana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Elevated rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) have been documented among American Indian (AI) populations and multiple negative health outcomes are associated with IPV among the general population. The aims of this study were to examine associations between IPV and health outcomes among AI women and men (N = 192) in five reservations in the upper Midwest and test for possible moderating roles of social support and communal mastery. Data were from quantitative survey results from the Gathering for Health study, a community-based participatory research project investigating the impact of stress on health among AI adults living with type 2 diabetes. Computer-assisted surveys measured IPV with current or most recent partner, depressive symptoms, adverse physical health conditions frequently co-occurring with type 2 diabetes, drug abuse, and self-reported levels of social support and communal mastery. Forty-eight percent of women and 43% of men reported IPV in their current or most recent relationship. Higher IPV scores were positively associated with depressive symptoms, physical health, and drug abuse and negatively associated with social support and communal mastery. Social support was negatively associated with depressive symptoms and drug abuse, and communal mastery and depressive symptoms were inversely correlated. Ordinary least squares regression analyses demonstrated positive relationships between IPV and all three adverse health outcomes, but communal mastery was not significantly related to any of the outcomes in multivariate models. Social support moderated the effects of IPV on depressive symptoms only and communal mastery demonstrated no moderating effect. Findings suggest that social support may be protective against negative health outcomes among this population and corroborate previous scientific literature on the negative health outcomes specifically related to IPV. Interventions seeking to increase social support may be an area in which to focus IPV preventive and treatment efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP6725-NP6746
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number13-14
StatePublished - Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • diabetes
  • domestic violence
  • indigenous
  • mental health
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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