Understanding Pathways within Intimate Partner Violence: Economic Abuse, Economic Hardship, and Mental Healthedit
The consequences of intimate partner violence (IPV) on the mental health and economic well-being of survivors can be devastating. Economic abuse, a form of emotional abuse in which an intimate partner uses tactics of economic control, is an emerging area of research and practice. However, few studies have explored the impact of economic forms of abuse on the mental health of survivors or the role of economic hardship in this relationship. The current study explored the pathways between economic abuse, economic hardship, and mental health symptomology. Four hundred thirty-five female community college students were randomly selected to participate in a web-based survey containing validated measures of exposure to intimate partner violence, including physical, sexual, and economic abuse, as well as economic hardship, PTSD, and depression. Analysis included bivariate correlations, hierarchical regression analysis, and mediation analysis. Economic abuse was significantly associated with both depression and PTSD symptomology, when controlling for key covariates. Mediational analysis demonstrated that experiences of economic hardship partially mediated the relationship between economic abuse and mental health. These results highlight the impact of economic abuse on the mental health of survivors and well as the importance of services including economic advocacy, education, and direct resources for survivors.