Modeling the Effects of Intimate Partner Violence and Access to Resources on Women’s Health in the Early Years after Leaving an Abusive Partner
Social Science and Medicine
Although the negative health effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) are well documented, little is known about the mechanisms or determinants of health outcomes for women who had left their abusive partners. Using data collected from a community sample of 309 Canadian women who left an abusive partner, we examined whether women's personal, social and economic resources mediate the relationships between the severity of past IPV and current health using structural equation modelling. A good fit was found between the model and data for hypothesized models of mental and physical health. In the mental health model, both the direct and total indirect effects of IPV were significant. In the physical health model, the direct effect of IPV on physical health was about four times as large as the total indirect effects. In both models, more severe past IPV was associated with lower health and women's personal, social, and economic resources, when combined, mediated the relationship between IPV and health. These findings demonstrate that the health outcomes of IPV for women who have left an abusive partner must be understood in context of women's resources.