The differential effects of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence on mental health outcomes among abused Chinese women: a mixed-method study

Tiwari, Agnes, Chan, Ko Ling, Cheung, Denise Shuk Ting, Fong, Daniel Yee Tak, Yan,Elsie Chau Wai and Tang, Debbie Hoi Ming (2015) The differential effects of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence on mental health outcomes among abused Chinese women: a mixed-method study. BMC Public Health, 15 1-12. doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1649-x

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Author Tiwari, Agnes
Chan, Ko Ling
Cheung, Denise Shuk Ting
Fong, Daniel Yee Tak
Yan,Elsie Chau Wai
Tang, Debbie Hoi Ming
Title The differential effects of intimate terrorism and situational couple violence on mental health outcomes among abused Chinese women: a mixed-method study
Journal name BMC Public Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2458
Publication date 2015-03-31
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/s12889-015-1649-x
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 15
Start page 1
End page 12
Total pages 12
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background
Distinctions have been made between the two main forms of intimate partner violence: intimate terrorism (IT) and situational couple violence (SCV), depending on whether the violence is part of a general pattern of control. Differential effects also exist between IT and SCV. However, the IT/SCV distinction and their differential effects have yet to be demonstrated in violent intimate relationships in China. We aimed to identify IT and SCV among Chinese women who reported partner violence in Hong Kong and to differentiate the effects of IT and SCV on their mental health outcomes.

Methods
A mixed-method design was used in a cross-sectional study to collect quantitative and qualitative data from women 18 years of age or older who had been victims of intimate partner violence in the past year. Six hundred and thirteen women were recruited from 18 districts in Hong Kong. Quantitative instruments were administered to assess intimate partner violence, control by an intimate partner, and mental health outcomes. Individual face-to-face interviews were conducted with 200 of the women to capture their experiences of intimate partner violence and the context in which it occurred.

Results
Of the 613 women, 215 (35.1%) were identified as victims of IT and 324 (52.9%) as victims of SCV. Compared to SCV victims, IT victims reported significantly more violence-related physical injury (p < 0.001), higher use of medical services (p < 0.001), and more symptoms of depression (p < 0.001) and posttraumatic stress disorder (p < 0.001). The interviews revealed two broadly different pictures with IT victims describing their relationship problems as serious and life-threatening, and physical violence was part of the controlling behaviors used by their partners. Such details were not reported by those in the SCV group.

Conclusion
Our findings indicate that violence in intimate relationships in China is not a unitary phenomenon, and it has at least two forms, IT and SCV, which were shown to have differential effects on Chinese women. The findings regarding the IT/SCV distinction and their differential effects on mental health outcomes have implications for policy, research and practice.
Keyword Intimate partner violence
Intimate terrorism
Situational couple violence
Mental health
Chinese women
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article number 314

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 05 Nov 2015, 00:13:07 EST by Vicki Percival on behalf of School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work