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Stigma and Mental Health of Sexual Minority Women Former Victims of Intimate Partner Violence

Published onFeb 23, 2022
Stigma and Mental Health of Sexual Minority Women Former Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
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Stigma and Mental Health of Sexual Minority Women Former Victims of Intimate Partner Violence
Description

Sexual minority women (SMW) are at high risk of experiencing stigma, mental health problems, and being victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). This vulnerability can be explained by the sexual and gender minority stress model, stating that sexual and gender minority people suffer from specific stress factors added to general stressors, leading to more mental health and relationships problems. OBJECTIVE: The main goal of this study was to assess the impact of minority stress factors and former IPV victimization on the current mental health of Canadian SMW, as a function of their sexual and gender identity. METHOD: In total, 209 individuals identifying as women (M age = 33.9), living in Canada and who lived in a past violent relationship with a woman responded to an online survey. Well-validated questionnaires assessed sexual orientation and gender identity, former IPV behaviors, minority stress factors, depression, and anxiety. RESULTS: Hierarchical regressions showed that past psychological aggression was positively associated with anxiety symptoms and past sexual coercion with depressive symptoms. Not being monosexual was also associated more severe symptoms of depression and age was negatively associated with the severity of anxiety symptoms. After controlling for age, race/ethnicity, sexual and gender identity and former IPV victimization, having negative feelings about being a SMW was strongly associated with both depression and anxiety symptoms. CONCLUSION: These results provide new information on the interconnected associations between former IPV, minority stress and SMW's mental health. Findings highlight the need to adapt clinical interventions to help buffer against victimization faced by IPV victims who identify as sexual and gender minorities.

 

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