This study investigated the effect of community violence on the functioning of women experiencing domestic violence.
Findings from this study on the effect of community violence on the functioning of women experiencing domestic violence (DV) include the following: women who experienced no DV had lower levels of mental health problems, regardless of the level of community violence; women's experiences of community violence were predictive of their mental health outcomes; and only the experience of some DV predicted some mental health problems. The primary hypothesis for this study was that the individual experience of domestic violence and the existence of violent crime in the neighborhood would both influence a woman's psychological functioning. Data for the study were obtained from a sample of women (n=94) who were part of a larger study examining risk and resilience factors for DV. The women chosen for this study were selected because they lived in a city with the existence of officially recorded community-level police crime data. Two measures of community violence were used for the study: police incident reports of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct offenses. Study participants completed a brief questionnaire to obtain information on demographics, and additional questionnaires that measured domestic violence, anxiety levels, depression levels, and posttrauma pathology. The data was analyzed to determine the extent to which community violence affected the psychological functioning of women experiencing domestic violence. The findings suggest that women's psychological functioning is solely related to their experiences of domestic violence, regardless of their experiences of community violence. Implications for future research are discussed. Tables and references