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Intimate partner violence -- Psychological aspects, Intimate partner violence -- Statistics, Family violence, Crisis intervention (Mental health services), Teenage mothers -- Depression


The purpose of this study was to assess whether the fear or threat of intimate partner violence (IPV) impacted depression and peer support among a population of pregnant and parenting female adolescents, and whether cessation made a difference. The sample consisted of 286 teen mothers participating in a substance abuse prevention intervention. Data were self-report assessed at 6-month intervals from entry through 18 months. IPV was defined by a report of avoidance of another within the past 6 months out of fear or threat of violence and was also assessed for those aged 18 and older with measures from the Abuse Assessment Screen (AAS). Depression and peer support were measured using modified versions of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies–Depression scale and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, respectively. At baseline, 26.5% of participants reported avoiding someone out of fear or threat of violence in the past 6 months, and by the end of the study, 36.9% reported avoidance at some time over 18 months. Mothers reporting IPV both subjectively (i.e., fear or threat) and directly (i.e., AAS) had significantly higher depression at the 12- and 18-month assessment periods, and those in continuous fear of IPV and new cases also had higher depression at 12 and 18 months. Cessation of IPV did not significantly affect depression scores. Regarding peer support, young women in IPV situations at baseline reported significantly less peer support at both baseline and the 6-month period. Additionally, findings suggest that peer support improves when the fear or threat of violence ends. Finally, correlations between peer support and depression show that as scores on peer support decreased, there was a concomitant increase in depression.


Originally published by Oxford University Press (

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