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Keywords

intimate partner violence; sexual violence; women’s mental health; women’s physical health; minorities

Abstract

Research studies examining the health correlates of violence against women have consistently demonstrated associations between violence and poor health outcomes, but have not examined a disparate impact on racial minorities. Alaska Victimization Survey data (2010) was used to examine whether a disparate relationship between victimization and health problems exists for minority women relative to White women. The Alaska Victimization Survey (AVS) is a cross-sectional survey designed to provide baseline estimates of intimate partner and sexual violence for Alaskan women. Logistic regression was used to assess the odds of experiencing various health problems given race and exposure to violence status while holding age and education constant. This study found that victimization increased the odds of health problems for all women, but significantly more so for minority women. Based on allostatic load theory, minority women who are victims of violence may be more likely to experience poor health outcomes because of the compounding effects of life stressors on neural, endocrine, and immune systems. Policy and practice implications of the study findings suggest preventing and reducing violence against all women, and for informed physicians to screen patients for abuse histories and refer to appropriate counseling and other stress reduction resources.


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