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Partner Violence and Psychological Well-Being: Buffer or Indirect Effect of Social Support

Escribà-Agüir, Vicenta PhD; Ruiz-Pérez, Isabel PhD; Montero-Piñar, María Isabel PhD; Vives-Cases, Carmen PhD; Plazaola-Castaño, Juncal PhD; Martín-Baena, David BsCon Behalf of G6 for the Study of Gender Violence in Spain

doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181d2f0dd
Original Articles

Objectives: To determine the effect of two kinds of intimate partner violence (IPV) (physical and psychological) in the previous 12 months (current) and before the previous 12 months (past) on psychological well-being among women aged 18 to 70 years who attend primary healthcare centers in Spain; and to analyze the effect of the duration of lifetime IPV and social support on psychological well-being.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out among 10,322 women randomly recruited in primary healthcare centers in Spain. Outcome variables were three indicators of psychological well-being (psychological distress, psychotropic drug use, and self-perceived health). Predictor variables were the different types of IPV, IPV timing (current and past), duration of lifetime IPV, and social support. Logistic regression models were fitted.

Results: Both types of IPV increased the probability of worse psychological well-being in both IPV timings (current and past). Longer duration of lifetime IPV, friends network size, and tangible support were independently associated with worse psychological well-being. However, an interaction between current IPV and family network size was found. The probability of poor self-perceived health status was reduced by 29% among women exposed to current IPV who had a large family network (odds ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.54-0.94).

Conclusions: Psychological well-being was independently affected by IPV (types and duration) and social support (friends network size, tangible support). Only family network size mitigates the negative consequences of IPV on self-perceived health status.

IPV = intimate partner violence; ISA = Index of Spouse Abuse.

From the Centre for Public Health Research (V.E.-A.), Valencia, Spain; CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP) (V.E.-A., I.R.-P., M.I.M.-P., D.M.-B.), Barcelona, Spain; Andalusian School of Public Health (I.R.-P., J.P.-C.), Granada, Spain; Department of Medicine (Psychiatry) (M.I.M.-P.), University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain; Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health (C.V.-C.), University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Vicenta Escribà-Agüir, Centre for Public Health Research, Avda. Catalunya, 21, 46020 Valencia, Spain. E-mail:

Received for publication June 12, 2009; revision received December 14, 2009.

This study was supported, in part, by Grants PI050676 (I.R.-P., M.I.M.-P., C.V.-C.) and PI061565 (V.E.-A.) from “Fondo de Investigaciones Sanitarias” (Ministry of Health) and Grant PD08_010 (V.E.-A.) from CIBERESP.

The authors have no potential conflict of interest.

Copyright © 2010 by American Psychosomatic Society
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