Intimate Partner Violence Is Associated with Suicidality among Low-Income Postpartum Women

Karen M. Tabb, Hsiang Huang, Miriam Valdovinos, Raman Toor, Teresa Ostler, Erin Vanderwater, Yang Wang, Paulo Rossi Menezes, Alexandre Faisal-Cury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although intimate partner violence (IPV) during perinatal period is more common than during other maternal health conditions, it receives less attention within research on maternal mortality rates. Given the risks for maternal mortality because of suicidality, the purpose of this investigation is to examine the risk of suicidal ideation (SI) among postpartum women exposed to IPV. Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, participants were recruited between May 2005 and March 2007 from primary care clinics in Saõ Paulo, Brazil. A total of 701 postpartum women were included in the analysis. Postpartum SI was assessed using the clinical interview schedule-revised. IPV was assessed using a structured questionnaire previously validated in Brazilian populations. Crude and adjusted risk ratios with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were estimated using Poisson regression with robust variance to examine the association between IPV and the risk for postpartum SI. Results: The prevalence of postpartum SI was 4%. Among those with postpartum SI, 70% reported IPV during the postpartum period. Compared with non-IPV counterparts, postpartum women who reported IPV had an increased risk for SI (relative risk [RR] 7.25, 95% CI: 3.23-16.27). In the fully adjusted model, the risk for SI remained significantly higher for women who experienced IPV than for those who did not (RR 3.02, 95% CI: 1.29-7.07). Conclusions: Postpartum women exposed to violence had a threefold greater risk of having suicidal thoughts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • Brazil
  • Suicidal ideation
  • intimate partner violence
  • maternal health
  • postpartum
  • women's mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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