Studies from high-income countries have shown intimate partner violence to be associated with depression among women. The present paper examines whether this finding can be confirmed in a very different cultural setting in rural Ethiopia.
A community-based cross-sectional study was undertaken in Ethiopia among 1994 currently married women. Using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI), cases of depressive episode were identified according to the ICD-10 diagnosis. Using a standardized questionnaire, women who experienced violence by an intimate partner were identified. A multivariate analysis was conducted between the explanatory variables and depressive status of the women, after adjusting for possible confounders.
The 12-month prevalence of depressive episode among the women was 4.8% (95% CI, 3.9% and 5.8%), while the lifetime prevalence of any form of intimate partner violence was 72.0% (95% CI, 70.0% and 73.9%). Physical violence (OR = 2.56, 95% CI, 1.61, 4.06), childhood sexual abuse (OR = 2.00, 95% CI, 1.13, 3.56), mild emotional violence (OR = 3.19, 95% CI, 1.98, 5.14), severe emotional violence (OR = 3.90, 95% CI, 2.20, 6.93) and high spousal control of women (OR = 3.30, 95% CI, 1.58, 6.90) by their partners were independently associated with depressive episode, even after adjusting for socioeconomic factors.
The high prevalence of intimate partner violence, a factor often obscured within general life event categories, requires attention to consider it as an independent factor for depression, and thus to find new possibilities of prevention and treatment in terms of public health strategies, interventions and service provision.