Women Veterans are at increased risk of both housing instability and intimate partner violence compared with their non-Veteran counterparts. A team of researchers conducted a study in which the objectives were (1) to assess the relationship between women Veterans’ experience of intimate partner violence and various indicators of housing instability, and (2) to assess what correlates help to explain experiences of housing instability among women Veterans who experienced past-year intimate partner violence.
[Photo: Dr. Ann Elizabeth Montgomery]
Data were collected from U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs electronic medical records for 8,427 women Veterans who were screened for past-year intimate partner violence between April 2014 and April 2016 at 13 Veterans Affairs’ facilities. Logistic regressions performed during 2017 assessed the relationship between past-year intimate partner violence and housing instability.
A total of 8.4 percent of the sample screened positive for intimate partner violence and 11.3 percent for housing instability. Controlling for age and race, a positive intimate partner violence screen increased odds of housing instability by a factor of 3. Women Veterans with past-year intimate partner violence were more likely to have an indicator of housing instability if they identified as African American, had screened positive for military sexual trauma, or had a substance use disorder; receiving compensation for a disability incurred during military service and being married were protective.
The team concluded that for women Veterans, intimate partner violence interventions should assess for both physical and psychological housing needs, and housing interventions should coordinate with intimate partner violence programs to address common barriers to resources.
Lead author, Dr. Ann Elizabeth Montgomery, serves as assistant professor in the department of health behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health and is an investigator with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans and Birmingham VA Medical Center.