Sexual Violence as a Key Contributor to Poor Mental Health Among Japanese Women subjected to Intimate Partner Violence

Tomoko Honda, Karen Hilary Wynter, Jinko Yokota, Thach Duc Tran, Yuri Ujiie, Madoka Niwa, Michi Nakayama, Fumie Ito, Yoshiharu Kim, Jane Fisher, Toshiko Kamo

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The aim of this study was to examine the impact of sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) on mental health among Japanese women and to explore to what extent sexual IPV is an important contributor to the severity of mental health problems in comparison with physical and psychological IPV. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was conducted of the medical records of participants during psychiatric consultation at the Institute of Women's Health, Tokyo Women's Medical University, including 62 women who experienced IPV without sexual violence and 83 women who experienced IPV with sexual violence. Mental health problems were compared, including anxiety, depression, suicidality, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and dissociative experiences. Results: The results demonstrated a higher incidence and severity of somatic symptoms, insomnia, social dysfunction, severe depression and suicidality, PTSD, and dissociative experiences among women in the sexual IPV group than in the women who experienced IPV without sexual violence. In analyzing the relative contribution of sexual, physical, and psychological violence to the severity of mental health problems of the survivors, results indicated that sexual violence was an independent predictor of both PTSD and dissociative experiences. Conclusions: The present research showed that significant adverse effects on mental health were observed among women who experienced IPV with sexual violence compared with the ones without. These findings provide important implications for considering the specific approaches to meet the needs of those women experiencing sexual IPV and the need for timely and effective interventions, including healthcare, social services, and primary prevention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-723
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • depression
  • dissociation
  • Intimate partner sexual violence
  • Japanese
  • PTSD

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