To assess trajectories of women’s experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) over time, and baseline risk factors and associated four-year outcomes for different trajectories.
A cohort study of 548 women with depressive symptoms, attending primary care appointments, were surveyed annually for four years. Secondary analysis was undertaken using growth mixture modelling to generate IPV trajectories. Analyses of associations of these generated classes of IPV with hypothesised baseline and four-year measures were undertaken.
At baseline, 42% (231) women experienced IPV in past 12 months. Five-class IPV trajectory model showed five groups over time: consistently ‘high IPV’ (5%, n=28), ‘some IPV’ (14%, n=77), ‘minimal IPV’ (9%, n=52), ‘decreasing IPV’ (11%, n=62), and ‘no IPV’ (60%, n=329). Baseline differences showed women in ‘high’ and ‘some’ group had more childhood abuse, low income and poor mental health compared to ‘minimal’ or ‘no IPV’ groups. At four years, ‘decreasing IPV’ group was aligned with ‘minimal/no IPV’ groups on mental health, quality of life and social support measures.
Women exhibited different trajectories of IPV over time with high burden of mental health problems, except for when IPV decreases. Clinical identification of IPV and tailoring of responses to decrease exposure to IPV is warranted to reduce disease burden.