Adverse maternal and child health outcomes, including poor mental health, are responsible for intimate partner violence (IPV) during the pregnancy stage. The IPV research carried out previously has prominently focused on women’s victimization experiences. However, if evidence is anything to go by it shows that young women are more likely to be engaged in bilateral violence, including victimization and perpetration, or perpetrate IPV, the unilateral perpetration, during the pregnancy stage than to report being victimized. The research particularly focused on prevalence of unilateral victimization, bilateral violence, and unilateral perpetration, and the association between these IPV profiles and mental health outcomes during the pregnancy stage, among young adolescents in the low-income range.
The survey data revolved around approximately 1000 adolescents, with age range between 14-21 years, and 95.4 percent Black and Latin population, from fourteen community health centers and hospitals in the city of New York. The stage of pregnancy considered was second and third trimester of pregnancy. There were multivariable regression models that tested the association between IPV profiles and prenatal depression, anxiety, and distress, adjusting for known predictors of psychological morbidity.
There were around thirty eight percent adolescents who experienced IPV during their third trimester of pregnancy. Of the people referred to thirteen percent were solely victims, thirty five percent were solely perpetrators, and there were fifty two percent who were engaged in bilateral violence. Almost all women with violent IPV profiles had significantly higher odds of having depression and anxiety compared with people who reported no IPV at all. Adolescents who experienced bilateral violence had nearly four-fold higher odds of depression and nearly five-fold increased likelihood of anxiety. In addition, unilateral victims and unilateral perpetrators were also at risk of severe mental health outcomes, with risk of depression and anxiety which was two to three-fold higher, compared to pregnant adolescents who report no IPV. The prenatal distress was higher among adolescents who experienced bilateral violence and those who were unilateral victims.
As per the report all violent IPV profiles were associated with adverse mental health outcomes among pregnant adolescents, with bilateral violence having most detrimental associations. Detailed and complete IPV screening for both victimization and perpetration experiences during pregnancy is totally warranted. Clinical and community prevention efforts need to target pregnant adolescents and their partners to reduce their vulnerability to violence and the subsequent adverse consequences.