Older women exposed to high levels of family violence during lifetimes are likely to have poor health, according to a new study.
In the study involving African American women aged 50 years or older, the researchers found that exposure to family violence, be it intimate partner violence or elder maltreatment, worsens their physical and mental health.
The authors suggest that a holistic approach to caring for older women should include greater awareness by clinicians of current and past violence exposure and the negative effects it may have on the health status of these women.
For the study, the research team from Temple University School of Medicine and Emory University School of Medicine used a survey to assess lifetime family violence levels, including physical violence, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, neglect, and coercion.
"This study provides further evidence of the enduring harmful effects that family violence can have on both mental and physical health, and in particular it highlights the association between such exposure and the health of older African American women," said Dr Susan G. Kornstein, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, and Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA.
The research team included Dr Anuradha Paranjape, MPH, Nancy Sprauve-Holmes, MPH, John Gaughan, PhD, and Nadine Kaslow, PhD, from Temple University School of Medicine (Philadelphia, PA) and Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta, GA).
The report appears in the Journal of Women's Health.