Partner Violence Types, Sexual Assault, and Psychosocial Outcomes Among Women

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In 2002, 28.9% of women reported experiencing some form of intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime (Coker et al., 2002). Previous literature has linked IPV with negative mental health outcomes such as depression, anxiety, and low self esteem (Coker et al., 2002). Few studies have examined the relationship between different types of IPV (physical, psychological, sexual abuse and assault) and outcomes. The studies on IPV types to date have examined their links with mental illnesses and pathologies (i.e. Coker et al., 2002; Hazen et al., 2008; Hedtke et al., 2008), but less so to broader psychosocial variables such as perceived control. In a previous study of ours, we examined perceived control as a possible mediator between IPV in general and outcomes of anxiety and self-esteem (Taylor & Williams, 2009). The present study extends this prior work by assessing the relation between different types of IPV (i.e., physical, psychological, sexual abuse by a partner, and sexual assault including self-identification as rape victim) and perceived control and anxiety. Participants consisted of 424 female college students at a southeastern university who completed an online survey about various life events they may have experienced and their self-related beliefs. Multiple regression analysis was conducted with all IPV types examined simultaneously, to determine the type(s) the unique relations between each type of IPV and sexual assault and low perceived control and anxiety among women. Results revealed that psychological IPV was significantly related to lower perceived control (b =.250, p<.01) and greater anxiety (b =.386, p<.001). In addition, self identification as a rape victim was significantly related to greater anxiety (b =.252, p<.05). Thus, psychological abuse consistently emerged as uniquely predictive of psychosocial outcomes. Future research should further assess the relations between types of IPV and other psychosocial variables such as self-esteem, and self-efficacy.


New Orleans, LA

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