This study examined the association of domestic violence (DV) with the general physical and mental health of older women. This pilot cross-sectional survey studied 257 women, aged 50-79, who came for screening visits to the Observational Study arm of the Women's Health Initiative's (WHI) Newark, NJ, site between June 1995 and August 1996. A 27-item, interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to detect DV. To measure overall health status, we used questions from the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36. Of the 257 women interviewed, 82 (31.9%) had experienced DV at some point in their life; 51 (22.6%) had been threatened, and 31 (15%) had experienced physical assault. Women who were either physically assaulted or threatened had lower mental component summary (MCS) scores (50.0 versus 53.7). Women who had only been threatened had a mean MCS score of 49.7 compared with 53.8 for nonthreatened women. Both of these MCS scores indicate poorer mental health. DV, which about 1 in 4 women experience over their lifetime, has a negative relationship to health status. Women who have experienced DV have lower MCS scores than those who have not. They also tend to have lower physical component summary scores. These findings suggest the importance that detection and prevention of DV have for women's health.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine|
|State||Published - Nov 1999|
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