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Intimate Partner Violence amongst women with eating disorders during the perinatal period

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Radha Kothari, Abigail Easter, Rebecca Lewis, Louise Michele Howard, Nadia Micali

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)727–735
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Volume48
Issue number6
Early online date29 May 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

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Abstract

Objective: Prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy is estimated to be 4%-8%. Women with mental health difficulties are at increased risk for IPV during the perinatal period. Prevalence of IPV is high among women with eating disorders (ED); however, prevalence of IPV during the perinatal period among women with ED is unknown. 

Method: We studied women from a population-based cohort, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Prevalence and odds of physical and emotional IPV during and after the perinatal period was investigated among women with lifetime ED, with (n=174) or without pregnancy shape and weight concern and/or purging behaviors (n=189), and women with no ED (n=8723). 

Results: Women with lifetime ED showed higher prevalence of IPV during and after the perinatal period (physical=9.6%-14.3% and emotional= 24.1%-28.1%). Lifetime ED was associated with higher odds of physical IPV during the perinatal period (odds ratio: 2.34, 95% confidence interval: 1.11-4.93, p=.03). Lifetime ED with and without pregnancy shape and weight concerns and/or purging was associated with higher odds of IPV after the perinatal period, and higher odds of reporting emotional IPV at all time points. Associations were moderated by partner's response to pregnancy and maternal experience of childhood sexual abuse. 

Discussion: Mothers with ED and their children may be vulnerable to negative effects due to maternal ED and IPV combined, both of which have been associated with severe and long-lasting harmful consequences. Partner's response to pregnancy and maternal experience of childhood sexual abuse might contribute to the association between ED and IPV perinatally.

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