The incidence and correlates of intimate partner violence in a sample of South African university students.
Smith, Michelle René.
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This study aimed to obtain an indication of the incidence (past 12 month) of intimate partner violence (IPV) in a South African student sample, and to explore the association between exposure to intimate partner violence and psychological adjustment. Study participants were 146 undergraduate students, aged 18-25years old, registered for psychology modules on the Howard College campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The incidence of IPV was assessed using the physical assault and sexual coercion subscales of the revised Conflict Tactics scale, with exposure to emotional abuse being assessed using scores on the Women’s Experience of Battering Scale. The impact of exposure to IPV was assessed using the depression and anxiety subscales of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist and scores on the Brief Screening Instrument for PTSD. Past 12 month incident rates for exposure to any form of IPV were high (92.5%), with incident rates for specific forms of IPV being: physical assault (31%), sexual coercion (14%), and emotional abuse (41%). Although females were significantly more likely than males to report sexual coercion (18.2% versus 5.6%), there were no significant gender differences in incidence rates for exposure to physical assault or emotional abuse. A series of regression analyses indicated that exposure to: (a) emotional abuse was associated with significantly higher scores on the measures of depression and PTSD, (b) sexual coercion was associated with significantly higher scores on the measure of depression, and (c) physical assault was not associated with scores on any of the clinical measures used in the study. Study findings are discussed with respect to their implications for practice and for further research.