Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences

Original Articles

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

S. Jonasa1, H. Khalifeha1, P. E. Bebbingtona1, S. McManusa2, T. Brughaa3, H. Meltzera3 and L. M. Howarda4 c1

a1 Department of Mental Health Sciences, University College London, London, UK

a2 National Centre for Social Research, London, UK

a3 Department of Health Sciences College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

a4 Section of Women's Mental Health, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK


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

Methods. 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.

Results. 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.

Conclusions. 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.

(Received December 21 2012)

(Revised April 26 2013)

(Accepted April 26 2013)

(Online publication June 10 2013)

Key words

  • common mental disorders;
  • eating disorders;
  • intimate partner violence;
  • psychotic disorders


c1 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: louise.howard@kcl.ac.uk)