Women's functioning following an intervention for partner violence: new knowledge for clinical practice from a 7-year study. Academic Article uri icon


  • Intimate partner violence affects one in three women worldwide, with women who experience violence almost twice as likely to experience poor mental health, especially depression, compared with women who are not abused. To learn the impact of interventions of safe shelter and justice services on improved mental health and behavior functioning, 300 abused women are interviewed every 4 months in a 7-year prospective study. For this paper, abuse, mental health and resiliency status of these women, 1 year after accessing services for the first time, are reported. Measures of mental health (depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), somatization), and adult behavioral functioning are reported. At 4 months following a shelter stay or justice services, a large effect size was measured for improvement in all mental health measures; however, improvement was the lowest for PTSD. All mental health measures plateaued at 4 months with minimum further improvement at 12 months. Both internal behavioral dysfunctions (withdrawal and somatic complaints) were worse with increased depressive symptoms, as were external behavioral dysfunctions (aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors). A concerning 39.2% of the women had clinical PTSD scores at 12 months following receipt of safe shelter or justice services, compared with a much lower percentage of women with clinical depression (14.2%), clinical somatization (9.4%), and clinical anxiety (13.5%). Depression was a significant positive predictor of internal and external behavioral dysfunctions, indicating that women who had higher levels of depression tended to report more internal dysfunctions (withdrawal, anxiety, somatization) and more external behaviors (aggression and rule-breaking).

published proceedings

  • Issues Ment Health Nurs

author list (cited authors)

  • Koci, A. F., McFarlane, J., Cesario, S., Symes, L., Bianchi, A., Nava, A., ... Zahed, H.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Koci, Anne Floyd||McFarlane, Judith||Cesario, Sandra||Symes, Lene||Bianchi, Ann||Nava, Angeles||Gilroy, Heidi||Liu, Fuqin||Paulson, Rene||Montalvo-Liendo, Nora||Zahed, Hossein

publication date

  • January 1, 2014 11:11 AM