Author(s): Ali TS, Mogren I, Krantz G
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is recognized all over the world for its association with mental health problems in women. In Pakistan, such violence occurs commonly, but detailed information on mental health effects is scarce. The purpose of this study is to focused on married couples in urban Karachi to investigate mental health effects associated with physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated by husbands towards wives. Disclosure rates and health care-seeking behaviour were also investigated. METHOD: This cross-sectional study involved 759 women between the ages of 25 and 60 years, selected using a multi-stage random sampling technique. The women were interviewed by trained community midwives using a structured questionnaire. RESULTS: In the total population of women, mental symptoms were prevalent. Women subjected to any form of violence reported, however, considerably poorer mental health than unexposed women. A statistically significant difference for almost all of the studied health parameters persisted even after controlling for socio-demographic factors. The strongest associations were found for suicidal thoughts and physical violence (OR 4.41; 3.18-6.12), sexual abuse (OR 4.39; 3.17-6.07) and psychological abuse (OR 5.17; 3.28-8.15). The interviews revealed that only 27\% of the women subjected to violence had disclosed this to anyone, in most cases to their parents. CONCLUSION: The findings in this study highlight that the violence women have to face contributes to the development of multiple forms of psychological stress and serious mental health problems. Women's restrictive life circumstances seriously hamper women's empowerment. Reliable health surveillance system and health care services are needed to serve abused women. Policy initiatives focused on IPV and gender inequality in Pakistan should be initiated.
This article was published in Int J Behav Med
and referenced in Arts and Social Sciences Journal