New study examines sexual violence against college women with disabilities

May 15, 2017, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc
Journal of Women's Health, published monthly, is a core multidisciplinary journal dedicated to the diseases and conditions that hold greater risk for or are more prevalent among women, as well as diseases that present differently in women. Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

Patterns of sexual violence and intimate partner violence aimed at female college students with a mental health-related or behavioral disability and the health effects of this abuse are presented in a new study published in Journal of Women's Health.

Amy Bonomi, Emily Nichols, Rebecca Kammes, and Troye Green, Michigan State University, East Lansing, report how sexual violence and disability-specific abuse can worsen mental health outcomes for women with a disability. These negative mental were typically accompanied by other adverse behavioral, physical, and academic outcomes.

In the article entitled "Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence in College Women with a Mental Health and/or Behavior Disability," the researchers describe the different types and frequency of violence and abuse suffered by women across their three most recent sexual partners, and the role alcohol may have played.

"This study contributes to our knowledge about the potential mental health effects and related impact of violence against women committed by sexual partners. By demonstrating the particular vulnerability of women with a disability to the adverse health effects of sexual abuse, these results highlight the need for appropriate services and prevention programs on college campuses," says Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health, Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA, and President of the Academy of Women's Health.

Explore further: Women with mental health disability may face four-fold risk of abusive relationship

More information: Amy Bonomi et al, Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence in College Women with a Mental Health and/or Behavior Disability, Journal of Women's Health (2017). DOI: 10.1089/jwh.2016.6279

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