Int J Epidemiol Res. 2017;4(4): 232-239.
doi: 10.15171/ijer.2017.09
PMID: 31360774
PMCID: PMC6663102
  Abstract View: 226
  PDF Download: 130

Original Article

Synergistic Effects of Depression and Poor Impulse Control on Physical Partner Violence; A National Study in the United States

Shervin Assari 1,2

1 Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture and Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
2 Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
*Corresponding Author:


Background and aims: Although major depressive disorder (MDD) also increases the risk of intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetration, poor mental health has been mostly conceptualized as a consequence of IPV victimization rather than a risk factor for IPV perpetration. Poor impulse control is another IPV risk factor. Building on a risk/risk framework, this study investigated additive and multiplicative effects of male partners’ MDD and poor impulse control on physical IPV victimization reported by female partners. Methods: This national longitudinal study followed a random sample of 2500 male and female cohabiting partners for 2 years in the United States. Data came from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS). Male partner’s MDD was the independent variable. Baseline socio-demographic factors (age, relation status, education level, income, and minority status) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) were covariates. Outcome was female partner’s physical IPV victimization measured at baseline and 2 years later. Male partner’s impulse control was the moderator. Model I tested independent effects of MDD and impulse control on physical IPV. Model II used multi-group structural equation model to test the effect of MDD in those with low and poor impulse control. All participants provided written consent. SPSS and AMOS were used for data analysis. Results: Model 1 that tested additive effects of socioeconomic status (SES), GAD, AUD, MDD, and poor impulse control did not show main effects of MDD or impulse control on an increase in perpetration of physical IPV over 2 years. Model 2 showed that MDD predicts an increase in perpetration of physical IPV by men with poor impulse control, but not men with high impulse control. Conclusion: Based on the findings, poor impulse control and MDD have synergistic effects on IPV committed by men. Given the synergistic effects of psychological determinants of IPV, there is a need for prevention of IPV in male partners who have multiple risk factors such as MDD and poor impulse control. Self-regulation trainings of depressed men with poor impulse control may reduce IPV risk among men. 
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ePublished: 28 Oct 2017
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