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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an important risk factor for perinatal depression (PND). But IPV's impact on the natural prognosis of PND symptoms is not well understood. We tested two hypotheses: (1) pregnant women with IPV experiences will exhibit more severe PND symptoms than women without IPV experience; (2) IPV experience will impede the recovery prognosis of PND. We also explored the contribution of IPV to PND comparing with other risk factors.
The sample is comprised of 813 pregnant women followed through perinatal period in Hunan, China. We assessed IPV experience using items from the Short Form of the Revised Conflict Tactics Scale (CTS2S), and PND symptoms via the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPSD). We conducted Linear Mixed-effects Model to compare the trajectories of PND symptoms between victims and non-victims and a multistage Generalised Estimating Equations Model to explore salient factors on the trajectory of PND symptoms.
There were 90 participants (11.07%) who reported IPV experience in the past 12 months. With respect to physical, psychological and sexual violence, the prevalence was 4.55% (37/813), 9.23% (75/813) and 2.34% (19/813). Victims reported more severe PND symptoms (t = 5.30, p < 0.01) and slower decreasing slope of trajectories (t = 28.89, p < 0.01). The PND trajectory was associated with IPV experience (OR = 3.78; 95% CI 1.39–10.26), social support (OR = 0.93; 95% CI 0.88–0.97), positive coping strategies (OR = 0.85; 95% CI 0.80–0.91), negative coping strategies (OR = 1.25; 95% CI 1.14–1.37) and monthly income of $0.15–$298.36 (compared to no income, OR = 0.0075; 95% CI 0.00052–0.11).
The findings suggest the reported prevalence of IPV is lower in Hunan than most of the previous studies during perinatal period in other provinces of China, and IPV victimisation is associated with increased severity and slowed prognosis of PND symptoms. Future studies that screen for victimisation and establish its explicit mechanism to the poorer prognosis of PND symptoms would benefit the prevention and treatment of PND.
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