PROTOCOL: Technology-based and digital interventions for intimate partner violence: A meta-analysis and systematic review

Chuka Emezue, Tina L. Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Studies show digital interventions such as mobile and wireless platforms (e.g., smartphone apps, text messaging) and web-based platforms (online support groups and telehealth services) can improve the mental health outcomes for victims/survivors of partner abuse. Depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety are three to five times higher among victims than nonvictims and are thus popular targets of digital interventions. Even then, the evidence is scant. The current review uses both narrative and quantitative (meta-analysis) techniques to present extensive evidence on the effects of intimate partner violence (IPV) digital interventions on the mental health outcomes among survivors of partner violence across all genders and ages, specifically, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This is the first meta-analysis on IPV-related mental health outcomes targeted by digital interventions. Objectives: To synthesize current evidence on the intervention and treatment effects of digital and technology-based interventions (mHealth and eHealth) addressing IPV mental health outcomes (depression, anxiety, and PTSD) among survivors of IPV. This study's research questions are as follows: (a) What are the overall average treatment effects of IPV digital interventions on IPV survivors' mental health outcomes? (b) Do these mental health outcomes vary based on methodological study designs, sample characteristics, and intervention characteristics?. Methods: An extensive search strategy will be utilized to find qualifying studies. Various electronic bibliographic databases will be searched for studies since 2009 (coinciding with the onset of mobile health interventions). Other databases, such as government databases, grey literature databases, trial registers, specialty journals, and citations in other studies will be searched. Also, we will search “grey databases,” such as Google Scholar. Ethical and safety concerns preclude the randomization of IPV survivors to specific intervention conditions. Therefore, we will not exclude studies based on a lack of random assignment. Studies will be full-text accessible, published in any language (translatable into English). We will also contact researchers where needed data is missing in their report. Neither language, study location, nor study settings will be a limiter for searches. Keyword and MeSH headings will be used. Effect sizes (Hedges' g) will be estimated with a Type I error rate set at an alpha of.05. Results: All studies will measure IPV-related mental health as an outcome and provide outcome data to calculate effect sizes for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and victimization (physical, psychological, and sexual violence). Conclusion: Digital interventions may clinically reduce depression, anxiety, PTSD, and IPV victimization. Summary effect sizes ranging from small to large will signal the usefulness of digital interventions to IPV survivors contending with common mental health issues. Future studies beyond this one may identify other active intervention ingredients of digital interventions, best modes of delivery, and guidelines to increase their feasibility and acceptability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1132
JournalCampbell Systematic Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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