The Co-Occurrence and Unique Mental Health Effects of Political Violence and Intimate Partner Violence

Cindy A. Sousa*, Kim Yacoubian, Patricia Flaherty Fischette, Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The global mental health ramifications of political violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) are well established. There also exists a growing body of evidence about the increased risks for IPV within situations of political violence. Yet, except for a few studies, there is little literature that simultaneously examines how political violence and IPV might result in unique risks for particular types of mental health sequela. Delineating possible divergent patterns between specific mental health conditions resulting from political violence and IPV takes on an increased urgency given that, although they are related, the two most commonly reported outcomes of these two types of violence—post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression—not only require different types of treatment, but may in fact be generated or maintained by disparate paths. Using survey data from adult women in Palestine (n = 122), this study explores the relationships between IPV and political violence (both lifetime and past-month exposure) and tests their independent relationships to PTSD and depressive symptomology. After controlling for the other form of violence exposure, political violence was correlated with PTSD and not with depressive symptomology, while IPV was correlated with depressive symptomology and not with PTSD. Findings demonstrate that distinct forms of violence exposure might indeed be associated with specific mental health outcomes. Results illustrate the need to assess for both political violence and IPV when researching and designing interventions related to violence.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)268-292
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2015.


  • PTSD
  • depression
  • domestic violence and IPV
  • political violence
  • violence exposure
  • war


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