Intimate Violence in a Southwestern American Indian Tribal Community

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Much has been written about intimate violence and American Indians, but little empirical data are available. This study investigated the prevalence and characteristics of intimate violence among 104 members of a Southwestern American Indian tribe. A semi-structured psychiatric interview and a measure of intimate violence were administered to 104 tribal community members from an overall study sample of 582. Both men and women reported high rates of lifetime (91%) and recent (31%) intimate violence; much of this behavior was interactive. However, female victims were more likely to require medical attention because of sustained injuries and to have their children involved with the violence than were male victims. For women in this study, forced sex was the only incident significantly associated with lifetime affective disorders and lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder. In this Southwestern American Indian community, intimate violence appears to be another variable in an environmental context that includes alcoholism, other psychiatric disorders, and traumatic events.

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