Past studies have shown that women who have experienced domestic are at higher risk of becoming depressed.
However, a new study reveals that women who are depressed are also more likely to experience domestic violence.
Furthermore, there may also be a link between intimate partner violence and subsequent suicide among women, but little evidence to support a similar finding in men.
The researchers led by Karen Devries from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, reached these conclusions by reviewing published studies that followed up individuals over a period of time (longitudinal studies) and examined intimate partner violence, depression, and suicide attempts.
Over 36 000 people from high- and middle-income countries were included in the review and in a further analysis, the authors found that in women, experience of intimate partner violence nearly doubled the odds of subsequent depression. However, they also found the reverse; that is, women with depression had nearly double the odds of subsequently experiencing intimate partner violence.
For men, the authors found some evidence of a link between intimate partner violence and later depression but no evidence for a link between depressive symptoms and subsequent intimate partner violence.
The authors say: "Our findings suggest that interventions to prevent violence need to be explored for their efficacy in reducing different forms of depression. Similarly, for women already receiving mental health treatments or presenting with symptoms of depression, attention must be paid to experiences of violence and risk of future violence."
The study was recently published in the journal PLOS Medicine.