Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Gender differences in intimate partner violence and psychiatric disorders in England: results from the 2007 adult psychiatric morbidity survey

  • S. Jonas (a1), H. Khalifeh (a1), P. E. Bebbington (a1), S. McManus (a2), T. Brugha (a3), H. Meltzer (a3) and L. M. Howard (a4)...

To assess the extent to which being a victim of intimate partner violence (IPV) is associated with psychiatric disorders in men and women.


A stratified multistage random sample was used in the third English psychiatric morbidity survey. Psychiatric disorders were measured by the Clinical Interview Schedule (Revised) and screening questionnaires. IPV was measured using British Crime Survey questions.


18.7% (95% CI 17.1–20.4; n = 595 of 3197) of men had experienced some form of IPV compared with 27.8% of women (95% CI 26.2–29.4; n = 1227 of 4206; p < 0.001). IPV was associated with all disorders measured (except eating disorders in men). Physical IPV was significantly linked to psychosis and with substance and alcohol disorders in men and women, but significant associations with common mental disorders (CMDs), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders were restricted to women. Emotional IPV was associated with CMDs in men and women.


The high prevalence of experiences of partner violence, and strength of the association with every disorder assessed, suggests enquiry about partner violence is important in identifying a potential risk and maintenance factor for psychiatric disorders, and to ascertain safety, particularly in women as they are at greatest risk of being victims of violence.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Professor Louise M. Howard, Section of Women's Mental Health and Women's Health Academic Centre KHP Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK. (Email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

TO Afifi , H MacMillan , BJ Cox , GJG Asmundson , MB Stein , J Sareen (2009). Mental health correlates of intimate partner violence in marital relationships in a nationally representative sample of males and females. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 24, 13981417.

JA Andrews , SL Foster , D Capaldi , H Hops (2000). Adolescent and family predictors of physical aggression, communication, and satisfaction in young adult couples: a prospective analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 68, 195208.

P Bebbington , T Nayani (1995). The psychosis screening questionnaire. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research 5, 1119.

PE Bebbington , S Jonas , T Brugha , H Meltzer , R Jenkins , C Cooper , M King , S McManus (2011). Child sexual abuse reported by an English national sample: characteristics and demography. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 46, 255262.

J Briere , CE Jordan (2004). Violence against women: outcome complexity and implications for assessment and treatment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 19, 12521276.

DM Capaldi , S Clark (1998). Prospective family predictors of aggression toward female partners for at-risk young men. Developmental Psychology 34, 11751188.

EJ Costello , S Mustillo , A Erkanli , G Keeler , A Angold (2003). Prevalence and development of psychiatric disorders in childhood and adolescence. Archives of General Psychiatry 60, 837844.

RP Dobash , RE Dobash , M Wilson , M Daly (1992). The myth of sexual symmetry in marital violence. Social Problems 39, 7191.

M Driessen , J Herrmann , K Stahl , M Zwaan , S Meier , A Hill , M Osterheider , D Petersen (2000). Magnetic resonance imaging volumes of the hippocampus and the amygdala in women with borderline personality disorder and early traumatization. Archives of General Psychiatry 57, 11151122.

DG Dutton (1994). Behavioral and affective correlates of borderline personality organization in wife assaulters. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 17, 265277.

MA Dutton , LA Goodman (2005). Coercion in intimate partner violence: towards a new conceptualisation. Sex Roles 52, 743757.

MK Ehrensaft , P Cohen , J Brown , E Smailes , HN Chen , JG Johnson (2003). Intergenerational transmission of partner violence: a 20-year prospective study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 71, 741753.

MK Ehrensaft , TE Moffitt , A Caspi (2006). Is domestic violence followed by an increased risk of psychiatric disorders among women but not among men? A longitudinal cohort study. American Journal of Psychiatry 163, 885892.

C Garcia-Moreno , HAFM Jansen , M Ellsberg , L Heise , C Watts (2005). WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women. Initial results on prevalence, health outcomes and women's responses. World Health Organisation.

G Feder , J Ramsay , D Dunne , M Rose , C Arsene , R Norman , S Kuntze , A Spencer , L Bacchus , G Hague , A Warburton , A Taket (2009). How far does screening women for domestic (partner) violence in different health-care settings meet the UK National Screening Committee criteria for a screening programme? Systematic reviews of nine UK National Screening Committee criteria. Health Technology Assessment 13, 1347.

DR Follingstad , IL Rutledge , BJ Berg (1990). The role of emotional abuse in physically abusive relationships. Journal of Family Violence 5, 107120.

JD Gass , DJ Stein , DR Williams , S Seedat (2011). Gender differences in risk for intimate partner violence among South African adults. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 26, 27642789.

MJ Golding (1999). Intimate partner violence as a risk factor for mental disorders: a meta-analysis. Journal of Family Violence 14, 99132.

LA Goodman , KM Thompson , K Weinfurt , S Corl , P Acker , KT Mueser , SD Rosenberg (1999). Reliability of reports of violent victimization and posttraumatic stress disorder among men and women with serious mental illness. Journal of Trauma and Stress 12, 587599.

LM Howard , K Trevillion , R Agnew-Davies (2010 a). Domestic violence and mental health. International Review of Psychiatry 22, 525534.

LM Howard , S Oram , H Galley , K Trevillion , G Feder (2013). Domestic violence and perinatal mental health: systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Med 10(5), e1001452. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001452.

R Jenkins , H Meltzer , P Bebbington , T Brugha , M Farrell , S McManus , N Singleton (2009). The British mental health survey programme: achievements and latest findings. Social Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiology 44, 899904.

MP Johnson (2006). Conflict and control: gender symmetry and asymmetry in domestic violence. Violence Against Women 12, 10031018.

J Kim-Cohen , A Caspi , TE Moffitt , H Harrington , BJ Milne , R Poulton (2004). Prior juvenile diagnoses in adults with mental disorder: developmental follow-back of a prospective-longitudinal cohort. Archives of General Psychiatry 60, 709717.

L Kish (1965). Sampling organisations and groups of unequal sizes. American Sociology Review 30, 564572.

RG Malgady , LH Rogler , WW Tryon (1992). Issues of validity in the diagnostic interview schedule. Journal of Psychiatric Research 26, 5967.

GJ McHugo , N Kammerer , EW Jackson , LS Markoff , M Gatz , MJ Larson , R Mazelis , K Hennigan (2005). Women, co-occurring disorders, and violence study: evaluation design and study population. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 28, 91107.

S McManus , H Meltzer , T Brugha , P Bebbington , R Jenkins (2009). Adult Psychiatric Morbidity in England, 2007: Results of a Household Survey. National Health Service Information Centre for Health and Social Care, Leeds.

E Miller , J Breslau , M Petukhova , J Fayyad , JG Green , L Kola , S Seedat , DJ Stein , A Tsang , MC Viana , LH Andrade , K Demyttenaere , G de Girolamo , JM Haro , C Hu , EG Karam , V Kovess-Masfety , T Tomov , RC Kessler (2011). Premarital mental disorders and physical violence in marriage: cross-national study of married couples. British Journal of Psychiatry 199, 330337.

JF Morgan , F Reid , JH Lacey (1999). The SCOFF questionnaire: assessment of a new screening tool for eating disorders. British Medical Journal 319, 14671468.

TJ O'Farrell , CM Murphy , SH Stephan , W Fals-Stewart , M Murphy (2004). Partner violence before and after couples-based alcoholism treatment for male alcoholic patients: the role of treatment involvement and abstinence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 72, 202217.

KD O'Leary , N Tintle , EJ Bromet , SF Gluzman (2008). Descriptive epidemiology of intimate partner aggression in Ukraine. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 43, 619626.

M Olff , W Langeland , N Draijer , BPR Gersons (2007). Gender differences in posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychological Bulletin 133, 183204.

S Oram , K Trevillion , G Feder , LM Howard (2013). Systematic review of the prevalence of domestic violence amongst psychiatric populations. British Journal of Psychiatry 202, 9499.

J Read , J van Os , AP Morrison , CA Ross (2005). Childhood trauma, psychosis and schizophrenia : a literature review with theoretical and clinical implications. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 112, 330350.

AL Roberts , SB Austin , HL Corliss , AK Vandermorris , KC Koenen (2010). Pervasive trauma exposure among US sexual orientation minority adults and risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. American Journal of Public Health 100, 24332441.

GL Roberts , JM Lawrence , BI O'Toole , B Raphael (1997). Domestic violence in the emergency department: 1 – two case controlled studies of victims. General Hospital Psychiatry 19, 511.

D Rose , K Trevillion , A Woodall , C Morgan , G Feder , LM Howard (2011). Barriers and facilitators of disclosures of domestic violence by mental health service users: qualitative study. British Journal of Psychiatry 198, 189194.

JB Saunders , OG Aasland , TF Babor , JR Dela Fuente , M Grant (1993). Development of the alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT): WHO collaborative project on early detection of persons with harmful alcohol consumption, part II. Addiction 88, 791804.

T Stockwell , T Sitharthan , D McGrath , E Lang (1994). The measurement of alcohol dependence and impaired control in community samples. Addiction 89, 167174.

K Trevillion , S Oram , G Feder , LM Howard (2012). Domestic violence and mental disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE 7, e51740. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051740.

T Vos , J Astbury , LS Piers , A Magnus , M Heenan , L Stanley , L Walker , K Webster (2006). Measuring the impact of intimate partner violence on the health of women in Victoria, Australia. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 84, 739744.

S Walby , J Allen (2004). Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking: Findings from the British Crime Survey. Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate. ISBN 1 84473 177.4.

C Zlotnick , DM Johnson , R Kohn (2006). Intimate partner violence and long-term psychosocial functioning in a national sample of American women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 21, 262275.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences
  • ISSN: 2045-7960
  • EISSN: 2045-7979
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-psychiatric-sciences
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *