Online Program

Associations of partner emotional abuse with self-esteem, depression, and suicidal ideation among college students aged 18-25

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Shandowyn L. Parker, PhD, MPH, Department of Public Health and Health Sciences, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI
Vicki Johnson-Lawrence, MS, PhD, Public Health & Health Sciences, University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI
Christen Adams, MS, Office of Research, Genesys Regional Medical Center, Grand Blanc, MI
Suicidal ideation is associated with higher rates of depression and poor self-esteem.  Emotionally abusive relationships may be predictive of these mental health concerns, but the magnitude of these associations, particularly in young adults, is limited.  This cross-sectional study examines racial and gender differences in associations between partner emotional abuse and poor mental health among a college student sample (n=269) in Flint, Michigan who responded to an online survey.  Emotional abuse was characterized by two subscales- isolation (14 items; α = 0.93) and degradation (21 items; α = 0.94).  Self-esteem was measured with Rosenberg’s 10-item self-esteem scale (α = 0.92).  Depression was based on the Goldberg Depression Test (18 items; α = 0.94).  Suicidal ideation was captured with a four-item scale (α = 0.77).  The predominantly female sample (64.3%) was 63.9% Caucasian, 17.5% African American, and 18.2% other racial/ethnic groups.  Findings from the multivariable linear regressions suggested higher isolation is associated with higher depression (b=0.60, SE=0.12, p<0.01), suicidal ideation (b=0.04, SE=0.02, p<0.01), and lower self-esteem scores (b=-0.08, SE=0.02, p<0.01).  Results were consistent for degradation.  Future research should continue to investigate the perceived role of partner emotional abuse among college students and its relationship to mental health.  Health education efforts should continue to create awareness of the mental health distress associated with emotional abuse and implement effective ways to promote healthy sexual relationships among young adults.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the impact of partner emotional abuse on mental health: depression, suicide and self esteem.

Keyword(s): College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have experience in working in the area of sexual health. I have been a Principal Investigator or Co Investigator on sexual health studies specific to working with youth and young adults. My focus areas are women’s health, reproductive health, hiv risk reduction, and abuse. I have worked with minority populations and women. I am an Associate Professor of Health Education and the Associate Director of my department.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.