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Use and Experience of Recent Intimate Partner Violence Among Women Veterans Who Deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan

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Background: Women veterans may be at high risk for intimate partner violence (IPV), which increases susceptibility for negative physical and mental health. IPV experiences and use have not previously been studied among the newest generation of women veterans who deployed to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Method: This study examined the correlates of IPV in a sample of 102 women veterans who had deployed to the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan and who were in current intimate relationships. Using an anonymous web-based survey, participants completed measures of combat and sexual harassment exposure during deployment, measures of mental health and substance abuse, intimate relationship satisfaction, and recent IPV. Results: Results indicated that 63% of the sample reported experiencing any IPV in the past 6 months, whereas 73% reported using IPV toward their partner in the past 6 months. Linear regressions indicated intimate relationship satisfaction explained significant variance in recent psychological IPV, whereas alcohol misuse and recent psychological IPV experiences explained significant variance in physical IPV experiences and use and sexual IPV experiences. Conclusion: Women veterans in this study reported high levels of recent IPV experiences as well as the use of IPV. Results suggest the need to assess for both IPV use and IPV experiences in medical settings, and that for some women veterans, IPV prevention that focuses on healthy relationship functioning may be beneficial.
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Keywords: GENDER; INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE; MENTAL HEALTH; VETERANS; WOMEN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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