Posttraumatic stress disorder among low-income women exposed to perinatal intimate partner violence: Posttraumatic stress disorder among women exposed to partner violence

Jennifer C. Kastello, Kathryn H. Jacobsen, Kathleen F. Gaffney, Marie P. Kodadek, Linda C. Bullock, Phyllis W. Sharps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Women exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) and other forms of lifetime trauma may be at risk for negative mental health outcomes including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The purpose of this study was to examine potential predictors of PTSD among low-income women exposed to perinatal IPV. This study analyzed baseline cross-sectional data from 239 low-income pregnant women in the USA who participated in a nurse home visitation intervention between 2006 and 2012 after reporting recent IPV. PTSD was assessed with the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS) in which participants answer questions about the most disturbing traumatic event (MDTE) in their lifetime that affected them the week before the interview. In total, 40 % of the women were identified as having PTSD (DTS ≥40). PTSD prevalence significantly increased with age to nearly 80 % of women ages 30 and older (n = 23). Age was also the strongest predictor of PTSD (p < 0.001). Most participants (65 %) identified non-IPV-related traumas as their MDTEs. Psychological (94 %), physical (82 %), and sexual (44 %) violence were not significantly associated with PTSD status. Despite recent exposure to IPV, most participants identified other traumatic events as more disturbing than IPV-related trauma. Further, the risk for PTSD increased with age, suggesting that the cumulative effect of trauma, which may include IPV, increases the risk for PTSD over a lifetime. Implementing comprehensive screening for trauma during prenatal care may lead to the early identification and treatment of PTSD during pregnancy in a community setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-528
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

Keywords

  • Intimate partner violence
  • PTSD
  • Pregnancy
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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