Intimate partner violence and suicidal ideation in pregnant women

Jeanne L. Alhusen, N. Frohman, Genevieve Purcell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy is a major public health issue with significant implications for maternal mental health. Less studied is the association between IPV during pregnancy and suicidal ideation. This study reports the prevalence and correlates of suicidal ideation among low-income pregnant women receiving prenatal care at a university obstetrical clinic from February 2009 to March 2010. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 166 women surveyed between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) and the Abuse Assessment Screen (AAS). Multiple logistic regression identified factors associated with antenatal suicidal ideation. The prevalence of suicidal ideation was 22.89 %. In the fully adjusted model, antenatal depressive symptomatology (OR = 17.04; 95 % CI 2.10–38.27) and experiencing IPV (OR = 9.37; 95 % CI 3.41–25.75) were significantly associated with an increased risk of antenatal suicidal ideation. The prevalence of antenatal suicidal ideation in the current study was higher than other population-based samples though this sample was predominantly single, low-income, and 19 % experienced IPV during pregnancy. Given the strong association of antenatal suicidal ideation, depressive symptomatology, and IPV, health care providers are urged to identify those women at risk so that antenatal care can be tailored to best support optimal maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-578
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Women's Mental Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 25 2015


  • Antenatal depression
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Suicidal ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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