150547 Intimate partner violence and unemployment among California women

Monday, November 5, 2007: 5:10 PM

Katelyn Perna Mack, BS, SM Candidate , Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Jennifer Alvarez, PhD , National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA
Joanne Pavao, MPH , National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA
Mark W. Smith, PhD , Herc, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA
Nikki Baumrind, PhD, MPH , California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Sacramento, CA
Rachel Kimerling, PhD , National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Menlo Park, CA
Background: Women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) often face major barriers to employment, such as mental and physical health problems. Although IPV includes both physical/sexual and psychological violence, previous research has generally overlooked the association between psychological IPV, including threats and stalking, and unemployment, and has been limited to community/convenience samples.

Objective: To investigate the relationship of both physical/sexual IPV and psychological IPV and employment status among a representative sample of California women. It is expected that women who have experienced physical/sexual IPV and/or psychological IPV will be at increased risk for unemployment.

Methods: Data are from the 2001, 2003, and 2004 California Women's Health Survey, a population-based, random-digit-dial, annual probability survey of adult California women (N=6,633). Logistic regressions were used to predict current employment status, adjusting for the following covariates: age, race/ethnicity, education, nativity, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Results: Over 11% of women in California reported experiencing some form of IPV in the past year. Both psychological IPV and physical/sexual IPV were associated with unemployment (OR=2.15, 95%CI:1.76-2.61; OR=1.83, 95%CI:1.42-2.38). However, after controlling for covariates, only the relationship between psychological IPV and unemployment remained significant (AOR=1.78, 95%CI:1.36-2.32).

Conclusion: Psychological IPV and physical IPV are both important barriers to employment. Given that both types of IPV are overrepresented among women on welfare, public assistance programs that aim to move women from welfare to work should develop policies to detect and address physical and psychological violence and the mental health sequelae of IPV.

Learning Objectives:
1. Differentiate between the different types of intimate partner violence. 2. Understand the relationship between two types of intimate partner violence and unemployment. 3. Discuss the policy implications of the relationship between intimate partner violence and unemployment.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.