Indian Journal of Social Psychiatry

BRIEF COMMUNICATION
Year
: 2019  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 213--216

A descriptive study to assess the prevalence of domestic violence among women in Urban and rural communities of Delhi and its correlation with their mental health


Sumity Arora, Raminder Kalra 
 Department of Mental Health Nursing, Holy Family College of Nursing, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sumity Arora
Assistant Professor, Holy Family College of Nursing, Hno-106, Pocket 1, Phase 1, Netaji Subhash Apartment, Sector 13, Dwarka, New Delhi - 110 078
India

Abstract

Background and Objectives: In India, domestic spousal violence against women has far-reaching mental health implications. This study was conducted on women staying in the urban and rural community of New Delhi to determine the prevalence of domestic violence and mental health and to determine the factors associated with it. Materials and Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional survey conducted in the urban and rural community of New Delhi, India. Simple random sampling was used to select the sample. Sociodemographic profile was collected using the self-structured questionnaire. Screening for domestic violence was done with the help of WAST (women abuse screening tool) and the self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ-20) was used to assess the mental health status. Analysis and Results: Analysis was performed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The level of significance was set at P < 0.05. Data were analyzed using the SPSS software version 20.Of 920 women surveyed, half of the sample was from the rural community and half was from the urban community. Nearly half (47.2%) of the women reported one or the other types of violence, i.e., WAST ≥4. More than half (62.4%) of the women reported poor mental health, i.e., SRQ ≥8. A statistically significant association (P < 0.05) was found between domestic violence and mental health. Mental health was not found to be significantly associated with age, duration of marriage, number of children, and income. There is no significant difference in the mental health of the people staying in urban and rural areas people staying in urban and rural areas are similarly affected by domestic violence. Education was found to be significantly associated with mental health (0.012,P < 0.05). Conclusions: Findings indicated a strong association between domestic spousal violence and poor mental health and underscore the need for appropriate interventions.



How to cite this article:
Arora S, Kalra R. A descriptive study to assess the prevalence of domestic violence among women in Urban and rural communities of Delhi and its correlation with their mental health.Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2019;35:213-216


How to cite this URL:
Arora S, Kalra R. A descriptive study to assess the prevalence of domestic violence among women in Urban and rural communities of Delhi and its correlation with their mental health. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Oct 17 ];35:213-216
Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2019/35/3/213/268344


Full Text



 Introduction



Domestic violence and its consequences for the physical and psychological well-being of women and children have been recognized as an important public health problem.[1] Studies indicate that 20%–50% of women worldwide have experienced some form of domestic violence in their lifetime.[2] Consequences of domestic violence, characterized by women's experience of physical, psychological, and sexual injury or threat, are manifold. A significant number of studies consider domestic violence as risk factor for women's mental health.[3] Rees et al.[4] concluded that the risk of mental illness increases for women who are exposed to domestic violence. Women who experience partner abuse are more likely to develop depression,[5],[6] posttraumatic stress and anxiety disorders,[7],[8],[9],[10] and other stress-related disorders.[11]

Domestic violence has been recognized as a problem in Indian urban and rural area. In addition, violence against women, including domestic violence, is still not discussed in public. Further, it was found that studies comparing abuse and mental health in Delhi urban and rural community were very less. Keeping this view, the aim of the present study was to assess the mental health in women victims of domestic violence who lived in an urban and rural area of Delhi as well as to determine some factors associated with it.

 Materials and Methods



This is a community-based, descriptive, cross-sectional study conducted in urban communities of South Delhi district and rural community in Southwest Delhi district. Ethical permission was obtained from the Institutional Ethical Committee and community chief before conducting the study. Nine hundred and sixty women of age >18 years, residing in the community were selected using the simple random sampling. Simple random sampling was done for selecting houses in the community. Data were collected after obtaining informed consent. From each house, one person who fulfilled the inclusion criteria filled the questionnaire. Inclusion criteria were women >18 years of age, married, and willing to participate in the study. Confidentiality was assured to the sample. Data were collected in 4 months period.

Sociodemographic characteristics were assessed using the self-structured questionnaire. The questionnaire included questions on age, education, duration of marriage, and family income.

Women abuse screening tool (WAST)[12] was used to assess for the presence of domestic violence. It is a widely accepted standardized tool used in the community. It has eight items having 3-level responses (0 – never; 1 – sometimes; and 2 – often). Scores ranged from 0 to 16 points. Instrument measures physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in the preceding 12 months. A score of ≥4 indicates exposure to intimate partner violence.[13]

Mental health status of women was assessed using the self-reporting questionnaire (SRQ-20). The SRQ-20 was developed by the World Health Organization as a screening tool for common mental disorders.[14] It was primarily developed for use in primary health-care settings, especially in developing countries. SRQ-20 consists of 20 yes/no questions) to assesses the presence of neurotic symptoms (anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic). It involved asking whether the respondent had experienced any of the 20 listed symptoms for the past 4 weeks. The questions were based on symptoms such as headache, loss of appetite, feeling of tiredness, problems in digestion, feeling of anxiety, nervousness, loss of interest, difficulty in making decisions, feeling of unhappiness, and suicidal thoughts. Eight or more than eight questions answered in affirmative were taken as an indication of unhealthy mental status.

All the tools were translated to Hindi for administration and validated by the Hindi expert.

Analysis

Data were analyzed using the SPSS software, version 20 (IBM Corp., Armonk, New York, USA.

 Results



Demography

A total of 920 women participated. Of which, 460 were from rural areas and 460 were from urban areas. Of the 920 women, more than half (77.5%) were 18–25 years of age and the majority (56%) of the women was educated till 12th. More than half (65.89%) of the women were married for 10 years or less. Nearly 58.58% were with <2 children. More than half (62.49%) were employed, i.e., employed in some private, governmental, and nongovernmental agencies, out of that 46.95% were working as laborer. Family income of 65.9% of the women was Rs. 5000–10,000/month (family income was determined as per the verbal information by the participant).

Domestic violence and mental health

As shown in [Table 1], nearly half (47.2%) of the women reported one or the other types of violence, i.e., WAST ≥4. Mean score on WAST scale was 4.59 (2.37). The minimum score was 0 and the maximum score was 14. This showed that women in the urban and rural area still experience domestic violence in life. More than half (62.4%) of the women reported poor mental health, i.e., SRQ ≥8.{Table 1}

[Table 1] shows mean score on the SRQ scale was 8.32 (2.97). The minimum score was 0 and the maximum score was 18. It also shows the correlation between the mean score of domestic violence and mental health of the individual. It shows a positive significant correlation (P < 0.05) between domestic violence and mental health. This proves that women who experience domestic violence had poor mental health.

Demographic correlates of mental health

To analyze differences between selected demographic variables and mental health scores, ANOVA and t-tests were used. Mental health was not found to be significantly associated with age, duration of marriage, number of children, and income. There is no difference in the mental health of women staying in urban and rural area. Education was found to be significantly associated with mental health (0.012, P < 0.05). This shows that an increase in the education level may influence the mental health of the person.

 Discussion



In the present study, nearly half of the women reported one or the other types of violence, i.e., WAST ≥4 and more than half (62.4%) of the women reported poor mental health, i.e., SRQ ≥8. In the present study, mental health was found to be significantly associated with domestic violence. Risk of poor mental health was higher among women who reported domestic violence. This supports findings from other studies [15],[16] which have shown that the incidence of poor mental health in women experiencing domestic violence. McCauley et al.[17] conducted a study in primary care clinics in Baltimore and found that abused women were significantly more likely to have higher scores on instrument for depression, anxiety, and somatization. They were also more likely to have attempted suicide. Díaz-Olavarrieta et al.[18] found out that currently abused women had higher scores on indicators of depression (P < 0.001). Kramer et al.[19] reported that abused women were likely to have depression than that of nonabused women (76% vs. 24%).

In the present study, demographic factors such as age, duration of the marriage, no. of children, income, and area of stay was not related to mental health. This was contradictory to other studies in which age and monthly income was found to be associated with mental health. Education was found to be significantly associated with mental health (0.012, P < 0.05). Other studies [15] have shown that an increase in the number of years of education was associated with a reduction in the proportion of women with poor mental health, a pattern that was statistically significant (P = 0.001). Education act as a protective buffer against poor mental health, suggesting that education could play a vital role in reducing violence against women and thereby mental disorder. This implies that higher levels of education engender better skills in coping with and dealing with stressful situations. Studies have indeed shown that low academic achievement was one of the risk factors predicting physical abuse of partners by men in New Zealand.[20] This study showed that the awareness program focusing on women empowerment and maintaining good mental health can be conducted in the community to decrease the further impact.

 Conclusions



This study has thrown light to the facts that women with poor mental health or depression should be screened for domestic violence and vice versa and should be provided counseling in health-care settings. Health-care providers in the community can be sensitized to the issue of domestic violence to recognize it early. Community awareness of the harmful effect of domestic violence needs to be increased.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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