Psychosocial effects of physical and verbal abuse in postmenopausal women

Charles P. Mouton, Rebecca J. Rodabough, Susan L.D. Rovi, Robert G. Brzyski, David A. Katerndahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the psychological effects of physical and verbal abuse in a cohort of older women. METHODS: This observational cohort study was conducted at 40 clinical sites nationwide that are part of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study. We surveyed 93,676 women aged 50 to 79 years using the mental health subscales and the combined mental component summary (MCS) score of the RAND Medical Outcomes Study 36-item instrument. RESULTS: At baseline, women reporting exposure to physical abuse only, verbal abuse only, or both physical and verbal abuse had a greater number of depressive symptoms (1.6,1.6, and 3 more symptoms, respectively) and lower MCS scores (4.6, 5.4, and 8.1 lower scores, respectively) than women not reporting abuse. Compared with women who had no exposure to abuse, women had a greater increase in the number of depressive symptoms when they reported a 3-year incident exposure to physical abuse only (0.2; 95% confi dence interval [CI], - 0.21 to 0.60), verbal abuse only (0.18; 95% CI, 0.11 to 0.24), or both physical and verbal abuse (0.15; 95% CI, -0.05 to 0.36); and they had a decrease in MCS scores when they reported a 3-year incident exposure to physical abuse only (-1.12; 95% CI, -2.45 to 0.12), verbal abuse only (-0.55; 95% CI, -0.75 to -0.34), and both physical and verbal abuse (-0.44; 95% CI, -1.11 to -0.22) even after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics. CONCLUSION: Exposure to abuse in older, functionally independent women is associated with poorer mental health. The persistence of these findings suggests that clinicians need to consider abuse exposure in their older female patients who have depressive symptoms. Clinicians caring for older women should identify women at risk for physical and verbal abuse and intervene appropriately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of family medicine
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

Keywords

  • Elder abuse
  • Health status
  • Mental health
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice

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  • Cite this

    Mouton, C. P., Rodabough, R. J., Rovi, S. L. D., Brzyski, R. G., & Katerndahl, D. A. (2010). Psychosocial effects of physical and verbal abuse in postmenopausal women. Annals of family medicine, 8(3), 206-213. https://doi.org/10.1370/afm.1095