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Health indicators, social support, and intimate partner violence among women utilizing services at a community organization.

Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health

Young Adult, statistics & numerical data, psychology, Spouse Abuse, Socioeconomic Factors, Social Support, Sexual Partners, Risk Factors, Regression Analysis, Questionnaires, Middle Aged, Mental Health, Interpersonal Relations, Humans, Health Status Indicators, Health Services Accessibility, Female, Cross-Sectional Studies, utilization, Community Health Services, Age Factors, Adult, Adolescent

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      Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is a significant public health concern. This study examines the physical and mental health status and relationship to social support for women seeking services to end IPV at a walk-in community organization that serves the community at large, including a shelter for abused women. One hundred seventeen (117) English-speaking women between the ages of 18 and 61 years participated in a self-administered survey. Physical, mental, and oral health, social support, and IPV homicide lethality were measured using standardized instruments. Social support was the most important factor related to better health. The participants who had more social support reported better physical (p < .05), mental (p < .01), and oral health (p < .05), and a lower level of psychological distress (p < .01) and depression (p < .01) compared with participants who reported less social support. The participants living in the shelter reported worse physical health (p < .05) but better mental health (p < .05) than the participants not living in a shelter. Older age and low income were related to oral health problems, whereas older age, low education level, and unemployment were related to poor mental health. The present study adds to the evidence that social support contributes to improving physical and mental health for women who experience IPV. The findings also suggest the importance of providing or referring women to mental health services. Copyright © 2013 Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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