Patterns of Violence Against Women: A Latent Class Analysis

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Abstract

This study examined patterns of nine types of violence against women (VAW) and associated mental health problems. The following self-reported, lifetime violence victimization was examined among 1424 employed women: (1) childhood physical abuse, (2) childhood sexual abuse, (3) physical abuse between parents/guardians during childhood, (4) psychological intimate partner violence (IPV), (5) physical IPV, (6) sexual IPV, (7) adult physical or sexual assault by a nonintimate partner, (8) physical workplace violence, and (9) psychological workplace violence. Latent class analysis was used to identify homogenous patterns, called “classes,” of women's “yes/no” responses to experiencing these types of violence. The best model consisted of 4-classes characterized by the following probabilities: low violence (Class 1: 63.1%), high psychological and physical IPV (Class 2: 15.6%), high physical and psychological workplace violence (Class 3: 12.4%), and moderate to high childhood abuse (Class 4: 9.0%). When compared to Class 1 (low violence), membership in Classes 2 (IPV) and 4 (childhood abuse) was associated with screening positive for depression in the past week at baseline after controlling for the influence of demographic characteristics on class membership. Also, when compared to Class 1 (low all), membership in Class 2 (IPV) was associated with greater odds of screening positive for posttraumatic stress disorder in the past month at the six month follow-up assessment. Findings document distinct patterns of VAW and associated proximal and distal mental health outcomes. Implications for interventions aimed to improve employed women's health are discussed.

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