The Impact of Intimate Partner Violence, Depressive Symptoms, Alcohol Dependence, and Perceived Stress on 30-year Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among Young Adult Women: A Multiple Mediation Analysis


Intimate partner violence (IPV), the physical, sexual, psychological abuse or control by a former or current intimate partner, affects almost one-third of women in the United States. IPV exposure can result in many negative outcomes including physical injury, increased stress, and depression. Currently, there is a small, but, growing body of literature examining the link between IPV victimization and increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk among young adult women. To better prevent this negative outcome, it is imperative to understand what factors associated with IPV victimization may be increasing this risk. A secondary analysis of Wave IV of the Add Health study was conducted to examine possible factors mediating past year IPV exposure and 30-year CVD risk score including perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and alcohol dependence among a representative sample of young adult women in the United States. Multiple mediation analyses were run to examine the possible mediating factors in the relationship between IPV and CVD risk. In a multiple mediation model, the indirect effect of perceived stress became insignificant when depressive symptoms were introduced. The findings of this study reveal that 30-year CVD risk in the context of IPV victimization should continue to be examined among this population. The mediation models suggested the importance of stress and depression in the context of IPV and heart health. Screening for depression among women exposed to IPV should be considered as an important intervention point, not only to mitigate mental health issues, but to also help prevent the development of cardiovascular disease.