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Intimate Partner Violence and Suicidality in Low-Income African American Women: A Multimethod Assessment of Coping Factors

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 13 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2007 Pages: 1113-1129
Susan L. Reviere; Eugene W. Farber; Heather Twomey; Alexandra Okun; Emily Jackson; Holly Zanville; Nadine J. Kaslow
Date Published
November 2007
17 pages
This study identified the psychological factors that influenced the link between intimate partner violence (IPV) and suicidality in a sample of low-income African-American women (n=200).
Compared with the IPV victims who had attempted suicide, the IPV victims who did not attempt suicide demonstrated higher levels of positive coping strategies and indicators of positive coping (general coping, effective use of resources, efficacy in dealing with the IPV situation, and the use of social support) and lower levels of less adaptive strategies (alcohol and drug use or abuse). Suicide attempters tended to use coping strategies aimed at accommodating or placating the abusers; whereas, the nonattempters reported a greater tendency toward safety measures, self-preservation, or the development of strategies to leave the abusive relationship. These findings suggest that interventions for women with histories of or current IPV should include an analysis of coping strategies and the risk they pose for suicidal behavior, particularly for women with limited external and internal resources. Interventions should focus on cultivating personal empowerment, social support, and effective problemsolving techniques. The findings emphasize the importance of continued research into the coping strategies used in the complex interactions of a couple or family system marked by IPV. The cases examined involved African-American women treated in a hospital emergency room following a suicide attempt. The women IPV victims who did not attempt suicide were African-American women who were treated at one of three outpatient medical clinics. A suicide attempt was considered to be any self-injurious act that required medical attention. A subsample of 40 women (20 attempters and 20 nonattempters) was selected randomly for indepth interviews. The interviews involved various instruments that focused on coping behaviors in dealing with the IPV. 3 tables and 49 references