Depression Linked to Partner Violence
> 3/8/2006 9:35:24 AM

Domestic violence and relationship violence have long been understood to cause or worsen depressive symptoms in their victims. But a new study from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine shows that depression may in fact predispose women to violent and damaging relationships. Lead by Jocelyn Lehrer of the University of California, San Francisco, researchers found that:

Young women who had significant depression symptoms as teenagers were 86 percent more likely than their non-depressed peers to report serious partner violence 5 years later. This association still held after a number of potential risk factors, such as race, parentsí education and history of childhood abuse from a caregiver, were taken into account.

The study used date taken from interviews with young women from middle school and high schools who were interviewed later to assess the possibility of relationship violence. Researchers speculated that there were a number of reasons that depression in young women led to such a strong correlation with abusive relationships. Often depressed individuals enter into relationships with one another, and this, coupled with evidence of high levels of violence from men diagnosed with depression, can form a volatile situation for depressed young women. There is also strong anecdotal evidence that depression prevents women from walking away from or facing their abusers.

More research will need to follow to confirm this link, but if Lehrer's evidence holds up, expect a large push for greater public awareness of this problem. Depression effects woman almost twice as often as men, and has been linked to numerous other negative health concerns. It is important that this new information regarding depression and relationship violence find its way to those whose lives it effects. Hopefully, in this case, information can prove the anecdote to a terrible situation.

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