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Mental health and domestic violence
People may be more likely to experience domestic violence if they have mental health disorders, new research has shown. Published in the journal PLoS ONE, the study revealed this to be the case for both men and women across all diagnoses.
Investigators from King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry, in collaboration with the University of Bristol and with funding from the National Institute for Health Research, discovered females with depressive disorders are around two and a half times more likely to have experienced domestic violence than those without mental health issues.
The researchers used data from 41 studies around the world to collate their findings, which also showed women with anxiety disorders are at more than three-and-a-half times greater risk of such experiences and those with post-traumatic stress disorder are around seven times more likely to be involved in this behaviour.
It was demonstrated that men with mental health disorders are at increased risk of domestic violence, as are women with other conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Professor Louise Howard from the Institute of Psychiatry at the learning institute said: "Domestic violence can often lead to victims developing mental health problems and people with mental health problems are more likely to experience domestic violence."
Dr Victoria Tischler, a Chartered Psychologist from the University of Nottingham, comments:
"Mental health problems make individuals vulnerable to poor levels of social support and difficulties in social interactions therefore experiences of domestic violence and being subject to violence more widely is not uncommon.
"In my research with women experiencing homelessness, three-quarters of whom had mental health problems, most had been subject to domestic violence with other types of violence, for example from neighbours. Concerningly, many of these individuals had experienced abuse in childhood as well and had dependent children who had witnessed recent domestic abuse.
"This suggests an ongoing pattern of dysfunctional relationships in some vulnerable groups which requires urgent intervention. In particular we should provide additional support to those experiencing mental health problems and promote positive social relationships, for example through educational problems, befriending and mentoring, to enhance social inclusion and break the cycle of abuse."
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