The Association between Intimate Partner Violence, Depression and Influenza-like Illness Experienced by Pregnant Women in Australia

Susan J. Rees, Ruth Wells, Mohammed Mohsin, Nawal Nadar, Batool Moussa, Fatima Hassoun, Mariam Yousif, Batoul Khalil, Yalini Krishna, Heather Nancarrow, Derrick Silove, Jane Fisher

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Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a major public health issue, including during pregnancy where it poses a serious risk to the woman’s health. Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) also causes significant morbidity for women during pregnancy. It may be possible that ILI in pregnancy is associated with IPV, and that depression and trauma history play a role in the connection. 524 Australia-born women and 578 refugee-background women participated in the study. Baseline participants were randomly recruited and interviewed from antenatal clinics between January 2015 and March 2016, and they were reinterviewed six months post-partum. Bivariate and path analysis were used to assess links between IPV, depression and ILI. One in 10 women (10%; 111 out of 1102) reported ILI during their pregnancy period and this rate was significantly (p < 0.001) higher for women born in conflict-affected countries (13%; 76 out of 578) as compared to Australian-born women (7%; 35 out of 524). In both groups, Time 1 traumatic events, IPV and depression symptoms were significantly associated with ILI at Time 2. A significant association between IPV at Time 1 and ILI at Time 2 was fully mediated by depression symptoms at Time 1 (Beta = 0.36 p < 0.001). A significant direct path was shown from depression symptoms to ILI (Beta = 0.26, p < 0.001). Regardless of migration history, pregnant women who have experienced IPV and depression are more likely to report influenza-like symptoms in pregnancy. This may suggest that trauma and depression negatively affect immunity, although it could also indicate a connection between depressive symptoms and physical experiences of ILI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-203
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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