The Examination of the Relationship between Intimate Partner Violence and Maternal Mental Health During Pregnancy

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A mother is empathetic, loving, patient, supportive, and protective over her unborn child. From the start of conception to the birth of a child, a mother will do anything to make sure that her baby is safe. Over the nine months of pregnancy, the mother and father will begin to prepare for their new bundle of joy; however, some women don’t have the privilege of having a supportive and loving partner. Instead they are inflicted with pain, violence, and harassment. Pregnant women who experience intimate partner violence are more likely to have depression or anxiety than pregnant women who do not experience this sort of violence. The aim of the study was to determine if intimate partner violence increases mental health illness during pregnancy, observe how age differences effect the rates of intimate partner violence among pregnant women, and lastly, examine how physical, psychological and sexual violence during pregnancy influence anxiety and depression. The participants chosen for this study were women who had recently given birth or were three to six months postpartum. The data used in this study was a secondary analysis of the National Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). A Chi-Square Test of Independence was used to answer all three research questions. The findings of the study indicated that pregnant women who experience intimate partner violence have a higher risk of having some form of mental health illness compared to pregnant women who do not encounter this form of abuse.
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Public Health
Public Health, Mental Health, Family Studies