CDC Links Domestic Violence to Health Problems

I found an excellent article on a blog for Domestic Violence and the Workplace by Kim Wells, Executive Director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV). The CDC findings suggest that domestic violence may be linked to debilitating and long-term health problems among victims. I’ve excerpted parts of the article below.

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released new information finding that one in four women (23.9%) and one in nine men (11.5%) in the US suffers physical or emotional violence at the hands of an intimate partner. This harms their long-term health, the CDC reports.

The new data come from the largest-ever US survey of intimate-partner violence — a range of behaviors that includes physical violence, sexual violence, unwanted sex, emotional abuse, threats, and stalking. Perpetrators include spouses, ex-spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, and dates. CDC researchers asked adult participants in the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey if they would answer questions about intimate-partner violence. More than 70,000 Americans participated. (That is a LOT of people in a survey — a really, really great scientific survey may have 5,000 people in it, so 70,000 means this is really an excellent representative sample)…

…The CDC is also concerned about something else — the link between domestic violence and long term health problems. The study found a number of outcomes related to intimate-partner violence, including current disability and activity limitations, asthma, stroke, arthritis, and, in women, heart disease.

The study author was quick to point out that survey data do not show whether partner violence caused these health problems. But they note that previous studies have found high stress levels in people with abusive spouses — and that high stress levels are linked to chronic health problems. Stress isn’t the only health issue for victims of domestic violence. A perpetrator limiting access to healthcare may also be an issue. Or an abused person may feel depressed or disempowered, making it hard for them to get to the help they need or to adhere to medications…

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Read the entire article here.

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