Tracing the roots of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD); domestic violence & abuse (DVA)
Background: Though the factors causing domestic violence and abuse (DVA), such as mental illness among men is well-research, the mental health consequences of DVA for the victims (women) are seldom explored.
Methodology: This case-control study was conducted upon a sample of 200 women (100 cases and 100 controls) presenting to the psychiatric outpatient department at Liaquat University Hospital, Hyderabad. After taking written informed consent, patients with a clinical diagnosis of general anxiety disorder (GAD) were invited to participate in this research. Their data was collected via a self-structured questionnaire inquiring about basic biodata, sociodemographic details, GAD diagnosis, GAD 7 scale score and DVA history. The data collected was analyzed using SPSS version 22. 0.
Results: The mean age of the study sample was 36 ± 09 years (range 23 to 49). 164 (82%) women were present in a marital relationship, and the remaining were either separated, divorced, or widowed. The mean duration for which the survivors suffered abuse was 7.3 ± 2.5 years, and 153 (76.5%) suffered from DVA to date. 41 (20.5%) participants made their index visit to the psychiatric facility while the remaining were frequent visitors. The mean GAD score of the sample was recorded to be 18 ± 3, with a majority of the patients having moderate or severe anxiety. DVA was more prevalent among the GAD group (p-value 0.034). Additionally, within the GAD group, a higher GAD & scale score correlated with a longer DVA duration and active DVA infliction.
Conclusion: There is a significant association between DVA and GAD. However, more research is needed to further explore the relationship, for better understanding, and maybe developed upon which more suited treatment protocols may be devised. The results also highlight the prevalence of DVA and the need to apply interventions and offer women help.
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