Systematic review of mental health disorders and intimate partner violence victimisation among military populations


This review considers the literature that explores the link between intimate partner violence and mental health disorders, within the military population.


There is growing awareness of the problem of intimate partner violence (IPV) among military populations. IPV victimisation has been shown to be associated with mental disorder. A better understanding of the link between IPV and mental disorder is needed to inform service development to meet the needs of military families. We aimed to systematically review the literature on the association between IPV victimisation and mental health disorders among military personnel. Thirteen studies were included. There was stronger evidence for an association between IPV and depression/ alcohol problems than between IPV and PTSD. An association between IPV and mental health problems was more frequently found among veterans compared to active duty personnel. However, the link between IPV and alcohol misuse was more consistently found among active duty samples. Finally, among active duty personnel psychological IPV was more consistently associated with depression/alcohol problems than physical/sexual IPV. The review highlighted the lack of research on male IPV victimisation in the military. There is evidence that the burden of mental health need may be significant among military personnel who are victims of IPV. The influence of attitudes towards gender in the military on research in this area is discussed. Further research is needed to inform development of services and policy to reduce IPV victimisation and the mental health consequences among military personnel.

Full Reference

Sparrow, Katherine, et al. "Systematic review of mental health disorders and intimate partner violence victimisation among military populations." Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (2017): 1-22.