Intimate partner violence and maternal depression during pregnancy: A community-based cross-sectional study in Ethiopia
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Introduction: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is regarded an important public health and human rights issue, characterized by physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Globally more than one in three women report physical or sexual violence by their intimate partners. Though the association between IPV and depression is known, we found no study investigating depression as a risk factor for IPV and very few studies using standard tools in assessing both IPV and depression among pregnant women. Aim: To measure the prevalence of IPV and depression during pregnancy and assess the association between IPV and depression and other determinants. Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 589 pregnant women living in Wondo-Genet district, southern Ethiopia. IPV experience was assessed using a structured questionnaire of the World Health Organization (WHO), and maternal depression was measured by the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). Descriptive statistics were computed and multivariable logistic regression was carried out to estimate risk and adjust for confounders. Results: The overall prevalence of IPV was 21% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 18.1–24.7). After adjusting for potential confounders, increased risk of IPV remained among rural women (adjusted odds ratio[AOR] = 2.09; 95%CI = 1.06–4.09), women who had parental exposure to IPV (AOR = 14.00; 95%CI = 6.43–30.48), women whose pregnancy was not desired (AOR = 9.64; 95%CI = 3.44–27.03), women whose husbands used alcohol (AOR = 17.08; 95%CI = 3.83–76.19), women with depression (AOR = 4.71; 95%CI = 1.37–16.18) and women with low social support (AOR = 13.93; 95%CI = 6.98–27.77). The prevalence of antenatal depressive symptom (with EPDS score above 13) was 6.8% (95% CI 6.2–11.3). Increased risk of depression was found among women who had been exposed to IPV (AOR = 17.60; 95%CI = 6.18–50.10) and whose husbands use alcohol (AOR = 3.31; 95%CI = 1.33–8.24). Conclusion: One in five pregnant women experienced IPV and it was strongly associated with depression. Screening for IPV and depression at antenatal visits with referral to relevant care and service is recommended.