Depression and Intimate Partner Violence Among African American Women Living in Impoverished Inner-City Neighborhoods

Academic Article


  • Mental health correlates of intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization including negative physical and mental health outcomes are well documented. However, certain subgroups of African American women, such as those living in impoverished, urban communities, are underrepresented in most studies and may experience IPV at higher rates. Furthermore, the circumstances of this women including poverty makes them at risk to IPV and its consequences. The present study estimated the prevalence of IPV victimization and its association with depression in a sample of low-income African American women participating in the Mobile Youth and Poverty Study. Participants in this study were caregivers of adolescents living in extremely impoverished conditions and were part of the Mobile Youth Survey, a community-based, longitudinal, multiple cohort survey conducted between the years 1998 and 2011. Data for the current study were collected between the years 2001 and 2010. The dependent variable was depressive symptoms as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale (CES-D). The independent variable was IPV measured using a subsample of items from the Conflict Tactics Scale. Nearly three quarters (73.6%, n = 489) of the sample experienced some form of IPV and 49.1% ( n = 326) had a CES-D depression score of 16 or greater indicating mild to severe depression symptoms. The highest proportion of women who met the CES-D criteria for depression were those experiencing the most severe IPV irrespective of category (i.e., physical, psychological, or combined). Logistic regression analyses showed that women reporting the most severe abuse, irrespective of category, were significantly more likely to meet the CES-D criteria for depression. In addition, low education and receipt of economic assistance were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. The combination of poor economic conditions and IPV may predispose African American women living in impoverished, urban communities to mental health outcomes such as depression.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Mugoya GCT; Witte T; Bolland A; Tomek S; Hooper LM; Bolland J; George Dalmida S
  • Start Page

  • 899
  • End Page

  • 923
  • Volume

  • 35
  • Issue

  • 3-4