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Psychological distress and attempted suicide in female victims of intimate partner violence: an illustration from the Philippines context

Diddy Antai (Senior Lecturer in Public Health, based at Health Services Research & Management Department, City University London, London, UK)
David Anthony (Division of Global Health & Inequalities, The Angels Trust, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 9 December 2014




The purpose of this paper is to assess the prevalence of, and determined the factors associated with self-reported symptoms of suicide attempts and psychosocial distress among female victims of intimate partner violence (IPV).


Using cross-sectional data from 13,594 women aged 15-49 years from the 2008 Philippines Demographic and Health Surveys, the authors measured univariate prevalence, conducted bivariate and multivariate analyses using logistic regression models to examine the associations between outcomes, exposures, and potential explanatory variables.


In total, 47 and 8 per cent of the women reported psychological distress, and suicide attempts following IPV, respectively. Physical and psychological IPV occurred in 7 per cent of the women, respectively, whilst sexual IPV occurred in 5 per cent of the women. Multivariate analyses showed significant association between physical and psychological IPV and suicide attempt, as well as psychological distress.

Research limitations/implications

This study extends the knowledge about the interaction between IPV, suicide attempts, and psychological distress by redirecting the attention to more systemic expressions of the excess burden of IPV among abused women.

Practical implications

It highlights the significance of screening for the presence of, and accumulated effect of IPV exposures as a risk factor for suicide attempt and psychological distress.

Social implications

Since IPV is a product of gendered norms and power relations, the extent to which exposure to IPV results in poor mental health outcomes is determined by the interplay between societal gender norms and attitudes, poverty, and psychological distress.


Given that most of the literature on the association between traumatic events, psychosocial stress, and suicidality derive from high-income countries, they do not reflect cultural differences within the context of low-middle-income countries like the Philippines, or be generalizable to the low-middle-income countries.



The author is grateful to Opinion Research Corporation Macro International, Incorporated (ORC Macro Inc.), Calverton, USA for the data used in this study. Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest with the material presented in this paper.


Antai, D. and Anthony, D. (2014), "Psychological distress and attempted suicide in female victims of intimate partner violence: an illustration from the Philippines context", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 197-210.



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