Associations between Substance Use and Depressive Symptoms among Women Experiencing Intimate Partner Violence


Associations between substance use and depression among women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) have received limited empirical attention. This study examined how demographics, frequency of IPV and problematic substance use were related to depressive symptoms among women exposed to recent IPV. Participants included 112 women (Mage = 32.26; 67% Black) recruited from community organizations in the U.S. Midsouth, many of whom had used substances (80.2%) and were living below the poverty threshold (71.3%). Results from a hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that, after accounting for age and income, more frequent IPV and more problematic tobacco use were associated with higher depressive symptoms. Neither alcohol nor illicit substance use were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. These findings highlight a meaningful connection between problematic tobacco use and depressive symptoms, indicating the potential benefits of incorporating tobacco use psychoeducation and cessation strategies into treatment programs for women experiencing depression in the context of IPV.

Publication Title

Journal of Trauma and Dissociation