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Minerva Psichiatrica 2017 December;58(4):216-33

DOI: 10.23736/S0391-1772.17.01943-4


language: English

An update on intimate partner violence and mental health

Giulia RIOLI 1, Chiara SGARBI 2, Valentina MORETTI 3, Arianna SINISI 1, Laura DE FAZIO 2, Nina GIAMBALVO 1, Silvia FERRARI 1, Gian M. GALEAZZI 1

1 Section of Psychiatry, Department of Diagnostic, Clinical, and Public Health Medicine, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy; 2 Department of Law, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy; 3 Department of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, Reggio Emilia, Italy


INTRODUCTIONː Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a problem worldwide and a human rights issue. The present paper summarizes recent literature on the relationship between IPV and mental health, exploring risk factors for psychiatric patients to be victims and/or perpetrators of violent behavior in intimate relationships.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A search of PubMed, PsychINFO and Cochrane Library databases was performed, looking for papers concerning IPV and psychiatry published between 2011 and 2016. Papers were retrieved and reviewed according to PRISMA statement guidelines. Only research papers with sample sizes >50 adult subjects were included, leading to a first selection of 1486 records. Titles and abstracts were independently screened by three pairs of researchers, following predefined criteria agreed by the authors, yielding 93 articles for review.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Mental disorders, especially posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, are associated with risk for perpetrating IPV. Confounding factors of this association are substance use/dependence, childhood adversity, previous IPV perpetration. Psychiatric patients are at high risk of becoming victims of IPV, but specific risk factors for victimization in this population have been poorly investigated. Rates of PTSD, depression, anxiety and substance use disorders are higher among IPV victims than in the general population. Interpersonal variables and social factors play a key role both in the onset and in the recovery from mental disorders in the aftermath of IPV.
CONCLUSIONS: Individuals suffering from a mental disorder are prone to be both victims and perpetrators of IPV. Further research efforts are needed to elucidate the risk factors for victimization, in order to devise effective risk management strategies.

KEY WORDS: Intimate partner violence - Psychiatry - Mental health - Crime victims

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