This study investigated the association between a history of childhood family violence and subsequent adult physical health, mental distress, and intimate partner violence. The sample consisted of 3527 women living in Washington State. Data were obtained from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), whereby state-funded interviewers ask several questions via telephone. This project was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Family violence assessed included child physical abuse (CPA), child sexual abuse (CSA), and witnessing family violence. Based on their responses, participants were classified as having experienced CPA only, CSA only, witnessed violence only, two types, three types, or none. Participants were then classified into dichotomous categories for each of the following outcome variables: experienced intimate partner violence in the past year (yes or no), general health status (good or bad), and mental distress (frequent or low/moderate).
[...] Dependent variables included adult intimate partner violence, health status, and mental distress. The first regression associated the six predictor variables with adult experience of intimate partner violence. It was found that a younger age and lower income were associated with higher risk for abuse. In addition, a history of CPA, witnessing violence, and more than one type of family violence were all associated with increased abuse in adult relationships. The second regression analysis looked at the association between the six predictor variables and general health status. [...]
[...] Perhaps most telling, every type of childhood family violence, CPA, CSA, witnessing violence, and multi-type abuse were all associated with frequent mental distress. Investigators also provided odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for the data. Strengths of Analysis: The analysis conducted in this study was indeed appropriate for the data under investigation. More specifically, logistic regression is used in studies such as this, where the dependent variables are categorical, and the independent variables are either categorical or continuous. The goal of this analysis, like others, is the ability to predict which outcome category a person will fall under based solely on the six independent variables. [...]
[...] Psychological article critique: 'Childhood Family Violence History and Women's Risk for Intimate Partner Violence and Poor Health' by Bensley, Van Eenwyk, & Simmons Bensley, L., Van Eenwyk, J., Simmons, K.W. (2003). Childhood family violence history and women's risk for intimate partner violence and poor health. American Journal of Prev. Med 38-44. Overview: This study investigated the association between a history of childhood family violence and subsequent adult physical health, mental distress, and intimate partner violence. The sample consisted of 3527 women living in Washington State. [...]
[...] Weaknesses: The primary weakness in the design of the present study is the reliance on self-report data. Often, participants are unaware of, or not forthcoming in reporting, their own experiences with abuse, poor health, and mental distress. Additionally, the sample consisted only of women, the majority of whom identified as Caucasian. This limits the external validity, or generalizability, of the current findings. That participants were recruited and then interviewed via telephone may also limit the reliability and validity of the findings. [...]
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