Published Papers - Abstract 914

Ferreira P, Loxton D & Tooth L. Intimate personal violence and caregiving: Influences on physical and mental health in middle-aged women. Maturitas, 2017; 102: 34-40

Objectives: To investigate if women with a history of having experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) who undertook caregiving would experience worse mental and physical health compared to those without caregiving roles.Study design and main outcome measures: IPV, caregiving history and data on covariates were collected between 1996 and 2010 from 8453 participants in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health aged between 45 and 65 over the course of the study. Regression analyses were used to analyse the association of IPV and caregiving (categorised as IPV + caregiving, IPV + no caregiving, no IPV + caregiving, no IPV + no caregiving), with and without adjustment for covariates, on mental and physical health-related quality of life (HRQOL), depressive symptoms and perceived stress, measured in 2010.Results: Experiencing IPV and being a caregiver was associated with poor health outcomes on three of the four outcomes (depressive symptoms, OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.58, 2.75; stress, OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.55, 2.87; physical HRQOL -2.39, 95% CI -3.34, -1.44; all p = 0.001, fully adjusted) compared with not experiencing IPV or caregiving. On these outcomes, IPV and caregiving combined had a stronger association than IPV or caregiving separately. For mental HRQOL, a weaker association was found (OR 1.41 95% CI 1.02, 1.95, fully adjusted, p = 0.04).Conclusions: This paper provides evidence for the cumulative health impact of stressful life events, both those that are perpetrated against an individual (violence) and those undertaken with a degree of personal agency (caregiving). The findings underscore the need to understand the drivers of poor health, for clinicians to ask about life circumstances of patients experiencing poor health, and for the provision of referral pathways for complex cases.