Using data obtained from a representative birth cohort of 941 young adults. This study examined the prevalence, risk, and implications of comorbidity between partner violence and psychiatric disorders.
The study provides evidence that abusive relationships co-occur with other clinical disorders. Over half of the women victimized by violence suffered a DSM-III-R disorder; they had significantly elevated rates of mood and eating disorders. Nearly two-thirds of the women victimized by severe partner violence met criteria for one or more disorders and had significantly elevated rates of mood, eating, and substance-use disorders, as well as antisocial personality disorder and symptoms of schizophrenia. Over half of the male perpetrators of partner violence met criteria for some type of disorder and had significantly elevated rates of anxiety disorder, substance use, and antisocial personality disorder. Virtually all male perpetrators of severe partner violence met criteria for one or more of a wide spectrum of psychiatric disorders. These findings show the need to screen for partner violence in mental health clinics. Recent discussions have focused on how general practitioners can screen for partner violence in medical facilities. Study participants were members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. Partner violence in the previous 12 months was measured with the Conflict Tactics Scales. The Diagnostic Interview Schedule was used to obtain diagnoses of 15 DSM-III-R disorders in the previous 12 months. 1 table and 15 references