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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: Health Effects of Past Violence May be Mitigated by Reducing Stress

Noting that interpersonal violence continues to affect health long after violence has ended, a team of researchers at the University of Kentucky (UK) investigated stress, support, and health behaviors as mediators potentially explaining persistent health impacts of violence. The resulting publication from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and UK College of Medicine, “Can the Impact of Interpersonal Violence on Current Health-Related Quality of Life Be Mitigated?”,  appears in the Journal of Women’s Health.

Using a cross-sectional analysis of 12,594 women in the “Wellness, Health & You” (WHY) study, authors measured violence by form and recency, as well as health-related quality of life. Half of participants reported never having experienced violence, but about 20 percent reported experiences multiple forms of violence. Intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and childhood abuse were each separately associated with poorer current health-related quality of life. Participants experiencing all three forms had a sixfold increased rate of poor mental health-related quality of life versus those who reported no experiences of violence.

Further analysis of factors including reported stress levels indicated that past violence may be mitigated through reducing current stress, pointing the way toward future research and interventions.


Dr. Ann L. Coker is professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the UK College of Medicine and professor of epidemiology in the UK College of Public Health.

Dr. Heather M. Bush is professor and chair of biostatistics in the UK College of Public Health.

Ms. Candace J. Brancato is a statistician in the UK College of Public Health.

Dr. Ginny Sprang is professor of psychiatry in the UK College of Medicine.