Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Domestic abuse linked to mental health problems in new mothers

Date:
April 14, 2014
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Domestic abuse is closely linked to postpartum mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, in mothers, new research confirms. The research also found that specific types of abuse are associated with specific mental health problems. "The sheer scope of the mental health problems and types of abuse that we found tells us that we need to take a broader approach to tackling these issues," states a co-author. "And this is clearly not a 'lower class' problem -- medical professionals everywhere need to pay attention."

A new study shows that domestic abuse is closely linked to postpartum mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in mothers. The research also found that specific types of abuse are associated with specific mental health problems. The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.

"We wanted to see whether and how intimate partner abuse -- physical, psychological and sexual -- influenced postpartum mental health in women, including problems such as depression, stress, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and PTSD," says Dr. Sarah Desmarais, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and lead author of a paper on the work.

The researchers interviewed 100 women from British Columbia who were largely from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and were not considered at high risk of postpartum mental health problems. The study participants were recruited to participate in a broad health and wellness study, which was not specifically focused on domestic abuse.

Sixty-one percent of the study participants reported symptoms of postpartum mental health problems within the first three months after childbirth. And 47 percent of the 100 women reported symptoms at "clinical" levels, meaning the symptoms were of at least moderate severity.

Eighty-four percent of the participants reported experiencing physical, psychological or sexual abuse at the hands of a partner prior to becoming pregnant. Seventy percent of the 100 participants reported some form of abuse by their romantic partner during pregnancy. These forms of abuse ranged from name-calling to rape and physical assault with a weapon.

"We found that women who had experienced abuse were more likely to suffer from postpartum mental health problems, and were much more likely to suffer from those problems if the abuse occurred during pregnancy," Desmarais says. "In addition, the more types of abuse they experienced, the more severe the mental health symptoms they reported. We also found that specific types of abuse were associated with specific problems."

The researchers found that psychological abuse -- verbal and emotional abuse -- was associated with stress and PTSD. Physical abuse was associated with depression, OCD and PTSD. Sexual abuse was associated with stress, depression and PTSD.

This means that some mental health problems could stem from any of the forms of abuse. For example, PTSD is associated with all three forms of abuse, but could be caused by any one of them; psychological abuse alone could lead to PTSD.

"This highlights the need for increased awareness of the prevalence of these issues, and the need for increased screening for abuse and mental health problems for pregnant women and new mothers," Desmarais says.

"The sheer scope of the mental health problems and types of abuse that we found tells us that we need to take a broader approach to tackling these issues," Desmarais adds. "And this is clearly not a 'lower class' problem -- medical professionals everywhere need to pay attention. But to do this effectively, we need to train doctors, nurses, and hospital staff in how to identify and respond to potential problems in this area."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. The original article was written by Matt Shipman. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah L Desmarais, Ashley Pritchard, Evan M Lowder, Patricia A Janssen. Intimate partner abuse before and during pregnancy as risk factors for postpartum mental health problems. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 2014; 14 (1): 132 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2393-14-132

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Domestic abuse linked to mental health problems in new mothers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414112439.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2014, April 14). Domestic abuse linked to mental health problems in new mothers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414112439.htm
North Carolina State University. "Domestic abuse linked to mental health problems in new mothers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414112439.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins