MONDAY, March 6 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescent girls who display symptoms of depression are more likely to be physically abused by a partner later in life than their non-depressed counterparts, according to a study in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Jocelyn A Lehrer, Sc.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed data from home interviews with 1,659 young women, all of whom were in a current opposite-sex relationship at five years' follow-up.
At the outset of the study, 10.2 percent of respondents reported depressive symptoms above a "high" threshold. The follow-up interview revealed that 18.6 percent of girls had been physically abused by their current partners. Overall, 17.5 percent of those who had reported low levels of depressive symptoms had experienced physical partner violence, compared to 28 percent of those who had high levels of depressive symptoms. Women in the latter group were 1.86 times more likely to suffer moderate to severe partner violence than the less-depressed.
While the study provides evidence of a link between depression and partner violence, it does not establish whether or not depression plays an independent role in projecting a girl towards later partner violence, the authors write. "If depressive symptomatology comes to be understood as a marker for risk of intimate partner violence exposure, it may be helpful in identifying high-risk girls for targeted intervention efforts," they conclude.
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