Intimate Partner Violence and Psychological Well-Being: Examining the Effect of Economic Abuse on Women’s Quality of Life

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Objective: To expand our understanding of the effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) on women’s general psychological well-being by empirically investigating the longitudinal effects of economic abuse on subjective quality of life. Method: In total, 94 women who had recently experienced physical violence and were receiving IPV services participated in 3 in-person interviews over a 4-month period. Results: Time 1 (T1) economic abuse was not related to perceived quality of life at T1 or to change in quality of life over time. However, within-woman change in economic abuse was significantly related to change in quality of life over time. In other words, relative to T1, at times when economic abuse was higher, quality of life was lower, and vice versa. Conclusion: These findings suggest that economic abuse plays a role in the psychological well-being of IPV survivors, and the effect appears to be immediate. Research examining the psychological consequences of IPV would benefit from the inclusion of economic abuse in the measurement of IPV. Further, research examining the effects of economic abuse on survivors’ psychological well-being should consider including indicators of quality of life and explore how this relationship unfolds over time using a lagged design and a longer follow-up period. Finally, practitioners can support the overall psychological well-being of survivors of IPV by implementing strategies to help prevent, minimize, or recover from economic abuse.

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