Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major risk factor for postpartum depression (PPD), with 9% to 28% of PPD cases reporting IPV at some point in their lives. Yet little is known about how these phenomena are associated. We asked, “What direct and indirect pathways link IPV to PPD in women belonging to different ethnic–national groups in Israel?” We recruited a stratified sample of Jewish and Arab women, 18 to 48 years old and 6 months postpartum, during their visits to maternal and child health clinics. We computed path analyses to identify both direct and indirect predictors linking IPV frequency and PPD in a stratified sample of Jewish (n = 807) and Arab (n = 248) women. The overall rate of PPD was estimated at 10.3%, whereas the rate of IPV for the total sample was 36%. We identified a direct link between IPV and PPD. IPV also appeared to have an equivalent, indirect effect on PPD via greater chronic stress and reduced social support. IPV was greater and social support was lower for Arab women, who also reported higher PPD, independent of sociodemographic differences between ethnic groups (i.e., education, occupation). Of note, an unplanned pregnancy appeared to increase the risk of both IPV and PPD. Our findings suggest that complex pathways link IPV to PPD and that indirect effects of IPV are equivalent to its direct effects on postpartum women. These findings contribute to a growing international body of research showing the significant effects of IPV on health and well-being. The factors we identified as directly and indirectly associated with PPD might inform interventions to identify and treat PPD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- !!Clinical Psychology
- !!Applied Psychology