KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — According to new research, women abused by a partner are three times more likely to suffer depression, anxiety or severe mental health conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the study looked at primary care records relating to 92,735 women in the UK between 1995 and 2017. It matched 18,547 women who had reported abuse with 74,188 women who had not.
They took into consideration other factors that can play a part in mental health such as deprivation, smoking and drinking habits and body mass index.
The study is one of the first in the UK to probe the relationship between domestic abuse and mental health.
It found that women who had been to their doctor about mental health problems were also three times more likely to report domestic abuse at a later date. Nearly half of those who were abused already had mental health problems.
The research also suggests that women do not always tell their GP of abuse. Only 0.25 percent of women on the primary care lists used in the study had reported domestic abuse to the GP. Police report that one in four women are affected over their lifetime.
“There does seem to be significant under-recording of domestic abuse within UK primary care. We are not saying that GPs should be asking the question more,” said Dr Joht Singh Chandan from Birmingham University, academic clinical fellow in public health and lead author. They also believe there should be better sharing of such information between the public services.