Emotional and economic intimate partner violence as key drivers of depression and suicidal ideation: A cross-sectional study among young women in informal settlements in South Africa.
Gibbs, A., Dunkle, K., & Jewkes, R.
Little research has assessed the impact of emotional intimate partner violence (IPV) and economic IPV on women’s mental health. Using cross-sectional data from the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures intervention trial baseline, in eThekwini Municipality, South Africa we assess three questions. First, whether emotional IPV and economic IPV make independent contributions to mental health outcomes; second what matters, severity, variety, or absolute experience? and third, are some items more important in driving mental health impacts than others? We assess associations between past 12-month emotional IPV, past 12-month economic IPV, and past week depressive symptoms and past four-week suicidal ideation. We describe the prevalence of each mental health outcome by individual items, including never/ever and frequency, and combined emotional IPV, and economic IPV, reporting depression scores and percentage of suicidal ideation and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Second, we created four-level categorical variables for combinations of emotional, economic, sexual and physical IPV, and present its frequency, and the mean/% and 95% CI for depression symptomatology and suicidal ideation. 680 women (aged 18–30) were enrolled. High levels of past year emotional IPV, economic IPV were reported. 45.3% reported clinically relevant symptoms of depression, and 30.0% past four-week suicidal ideation. All measures of emotional IPV and economic IPV showed a consistent positive correlation with CESD scores, and suicidal ideation. For all four-level categorical constructs the highest depression scores, and prevalence of suicidal ideation, were for combinations of emotional IPV or economic IPV with physical and/or sexual IPV. For depression in 17/18 combinations this was significantly different compared to women reporting no IPV. For suicidal ideation this was significant in 6/18 combinations all related to economic IPV. Emotional IPV and economic IPV have independent associations with women’s mental health, beyond physical IPV and sexual IPV, and also have distinct patterns between each other.