1. Numerous mental health disorders are associated with an increased risk of perpetrating intimate partner violence (IPV) towards women
Evidence Rating Level: 2 (Good)
Previous studies have demonstrated a link between mental health disorders and the risk of perpetrating intimate partner violence (IPV) against women; the direction and magnitude of this association, however, has not been well established. In this retrospective cohort study (1998 to 2013), researchers used Swedish nationwide registries to study individuals of 9 different diagnostic groups (schizophrenia spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, alcohol use disorder, drug use disorder, ADHD, autism, personality disorders), matched to individuals in the general population, to examine the association between mental health disorders and IPV perpetrated by men towards women. The sample size for each diagnostic group ranged from 9,529 for individuals with autism, to 88,182 for individuals with depressive disorder. Researchers found that compared to general population controls, all psychiatric diagnoses studied except autism were associated with an increased risk of IPV against women in men. Based on sibling analyses, researchers also found that men with depressive disorder (HR 2.9, 95% CI 2.7 to 3.2), anxiety disorder (HR 2.5, 95% CI 2.2 to 2.7), alcohol use disorder (HR 7.0, 95% CI 6.6 to 7.5), drug use disorder (HR 7.7, 95% CI 7.2 to 8.3), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (HR 6.4, 95% CI 5.5 to 7.4), and personality disorders (HR 4.3, 95% CI 3.8 to 4.9) had a higher risk of IPV against women when compared to their unaffected siblings. One limitation of this study is the fact that analyses were restricted to IPV leading to arrest, and as such, the applicability of these results may be limited to more severe forms of IPV. This study therefore shows that a number of mental disorders are associated with an increased risk of perpetrating IPV towards women. These findings have important implications for IPV risk identification and prevention among individuals with certain mental health conditions.
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