Intimate Partner Violence and Mental Health Outcomes Among Hispanic Women in the United States: A Scoping Review

Author(s): 
Reyes, M.E., Simpson, L., Sullivan, T.P., Contractor, A.A., & Weiss, N.H. (2021).
Source: 
Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 1 – 19, DOI: 10.1177/15248380211043815.
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Summary: 

This review synthesized existing knowledge based on IPV and mental health outcomes among Hispanic women.  Findings identified a need to examine mental health outcomes understudied in relation to IPV among Hispanic women.

 

Expanded Abstract: 
According to a 2019 Census report, 60.7 million people in the United States identified as being of Hispanic descent. Studies demonstrate that conflicts related to changes in traditional gender roles (e.g., flexibility in women obtaining employment) have increased the risk of experiencing IPV among Hispanic women in the United States (Gonzalez-Guarda et al., 2009). Shifts in traditional gender roles (e.g., women being caretakers to the family) can conflict with cultural concepts, such as machismo (e.g., the notion that Hispanic men are responsible for being the decision maker of the family). Therefore, IPV among Hispanic women in the United States may result from attempts to exercise power and control within relationships (Gonzalez-Guarda et al., 2011; Moreno, 2007).  Given this research, researchers in this review chose to conduct a scoping review (a scoping review is as a research method that maps the research literature on a particular topic and identifies key concepts; gaps in the research; and types and sources of evidence to inform practice and policymaking) to synthesize the existing literature on IPV and mental health outcomes among Hispanic women in the United States. Specifically, they identified the type of mental health outcomes most prominently reported by Hispanic women with IPV experiences.
 
Across four studies (30.8%), IPV was studied in relation to general mental health outcomes among Hispanic women. Bonomi et al. (2009) found that IPV-victimized Hispanic women reported poorer average mental health scores compared to Hispanic women who did not experience IPV. Another study found that IPV-victimized Hispanic women experienced a greater number of mental health disorder symptoms compared to non-IPV-victimized Hispanic women (Huang et al., 2019). Regarding IPV types, Chen et al. (2009) found physical, sexual, and psychological IPV to be related to common mental health disorders and mental health disorder symptoms, respectively, among Hispanic women.
 
Following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses extension for scoping reviews guidelines we synthesized the existing knowledge based on IPV and mental health outcomes among Hispanic women in the United States. In May 2020, we searched five electronic databases. From the initial 1,180 results, 13 articles met inclusion criteria for this review (written in English, empirical study, focus on the experiences of victimization from an intimate partner, focus on mental health outcomes occurring in the person experiencing IPV, included women who identify as Hispanic, and included participants residing in the United States), representing 4,060 women. 
 
Findings highlighted significant positive associations between IPV and general mental health outcomes as well as the specific outcomes of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance misuse among Hispanic women in the United States. Limitations included heterogeneity across Hispanic populations and methodological differences between studies. Key avenues for future research were identified, including the need to examine mental health outcomes understudied in relation to IPV among Hispanic women (e.g., personality, obsessive-compulsive, and eating disorders) and to identify cultural and demographic factors (e.g., nativity status, level of acculturation) that may influence relations between IPV and mental health outcomes among Hispanic women. Such research can inform prevention and intervention efforts aimed at improving mental health among Hispanic women in the United States experiencing IPV.
 
(The expanded abstract is excerpted and adapted from the article cited above).
 
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