Adolescent Depression Linked to Domestic Violence
> 3/3/2006 2:17:53 PM

A new study by Michelle Hindin, PhD at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has drawn a connection between depression witnessing domestic violence. The study, which will be published in the April 2006 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, found that teens who witnessed domestic violence were significantly more likely to report depressive symptoms including suicidal ideation.

Hindin drew her conclusions from data collected as part of the 2002 Cebu Longitudinal Health Nutrition Survey conducted in the Philippines. Nearly half of all respondents reported witnessing domestic violence, while "one in ten of the male adolescents and one in five of the female adolescents reported wishing they were dead occasionally or most of the time in the four weeks preceding the survey."

Hinden notes that:
“Mental health and domestic violence are increasing public health concerns. Interventions that prevent domestic violence may also help prevent the severity of depressive symptoms in adolescents.”

Earlier studies have linked depression to trauma in childhood, especially in women (which was reinforced by Hindin's results). Sexual abuse as well as physical abuse have been proven to correlate to depression, so the fact that the stress caused by witnessing domestic abuse can also be linked to depression is not surprising. As Hindin notes, both domestic violence and depression are major public health issues, and this is one instance where it appears that addressing the former, may indeed help engage the latter.

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