Associations between exposures to occupation-related events, depression and intimate partner violence among women in the occupied Palestinian Territories

This paper focuses on war and conflict impact on women’s mental health and experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV), including in the occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT).

Drawing on a cross-sectional population representative sample (n=534) collected in February 2017 in the oPT, we sought to (i) characterise the patterning of occupation-related events among women (18+) living in the oPT, (ii) to descriptively assess factors associated with this patterning, (iii) to assess the health impacts of occupation-related events by this patterning, specifically experience of IPV and poor mental health, and (iv) to assess the pathways through which occupation-related events are associated with IPV experience.

Using Latent Class Analysis we identified three 'classes’ of exposure to occupation-related events: 1 in 20 experienced multiple forms directed at themselves, their families and homes, 42.3% reported experiences against family members and their homes, and half reported relatively few direct experiences of occupation-related violence. Group membership was associated with increased past year IPV experience, and depressive symptoms. Using structural equation modelling we demonstrate that experiences of occupation-related events increased IPV experience via two mediated pathways; increased gender inequitable attitudes, and increased depressive symptoms and quarrelling with their husband. Preventing IPV requires addressing occupation-related events as well as transforming gender norms.

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