Mental Health Consequences
According to a study on the impact stalking has on victims' psychological well-being, the stalking victims' scores for somatic symptoms, anxiety and insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression were much closer to those of psychiatric outpatients than those of the general population.
(Blaauw, et al. 2002. “The Toll of Stalking: The Relationship Between Features of Stalking and Psychopathology of Victims.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 17(1).)
An investigation into the suicides of women within one year of their giving birth found that there was a known or suspected history of intimate partner violence in two out of the five cases.
(Walton-Moss, B. and Campbell, J. January 2002. "Intimate Partner Violence: Implications for Nursing." Issues in Nursing. Vol.7 .)
Children who witness domestic violence may suffer acute and long-term emotional disturbances, including nightmares, depression, learning difficulties, and aggressive behavior. Children also become at risk for subsequent use of violence against their dating partners and wives
(el-Bayoumi et al., 1998; NRC, 1998; Sisley et al., 1999).
The mental health consequences of domestic violence include depression, anxiety disorders (e.g., post-traumatic stress disorder), suicide, eating disorders, and substance abuse
(IOM, 1998; Eisenstat & Bancroft, 1999).
Women with a history of violence are abuse more often reported being in fair or poor health, were more likely to report high levels of depressive symptoms, and were more likely to have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety.
(The Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women's Health, 8-9, May 1999)
Thirty percent of female stalking victims and 20 percent of male stalking victims seek psychological counseling as a result of their victimization. They are significantly more likely to fear for their personal safety than people who have never been stalked.
(National Institute of Justice. 1998. Stalking in America: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice.)
Increased risk of depression appears to be a consequence of spouse or partner abuse rather than a character trait of victims. Evidence of that comes from a study of 397 women in Seattle who had reported abuse during a 14-month period from 1997 to 1998. Researchers from the University of Washington monitored the women for symptoms of depression, checking in three months, nine months and two years after the initial report of abuse, and they also surveyed them on subsequent physical, psychological and sexual abuse.
As the violence decreased or stopped, the women's risk of depression fell as well. It dropped 35 percent when abuse ceased altogether and 27 percent when physical or sexual abuse stopped but psychological abuse continued.
(Source: Violence and Victims, Volume 18, Issue 3. June 2003.)
In a study of one Florida domestic violence agency, 63% of women in shelters suffered from major depression and 40% from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while of those who were receiving services but living in their own homes, 81% suffered from depression and 31% from PTSD. (Rates of major depression and PTSD in a large random sample of US women were 7% and 1% respectively.)
(Walter J. Gleason, "Mental disorders in battered women: An empirical study," Violence & Victims 8, no. 1 (1993): 53-68)
Thirty-one percent of all rape victims develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during their lifetimes. Rape victims are 6.2 times more likely to develop PTSD than women who have never been victims of crime.
(National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center. nd. The Mental Health Impact of Rape. Charleston, SC: Medical University of South Carolina.)