Gender and psychotropic medication use: the role of intimate partner violence

Prev Med. 2008 Jun;46(6):615-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.07.019. Epub 2007 Jul 26.


Objective: Women are known to use more psychotropic medications than men which may be linked to women's greater exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV).

Method: The use of medications for sleep, depression and anxiety in adults in the 1999 Canadian General Social Survey was assessed. Rates of medication use by adults exposed to IPV (physical, sexual, emotional and financial) were compared to rates of those reporting no IPV.

Results: More women (14.9%) than men (9.6%) reported use of psychotropic medications in the preceding month. Rates were significantly higher in both women and men who reported IPV. This link was still present after key sociodemographic and health predictors of medication use were held constant.

Conclusion: This random population based study provides the first data to support the idea that IPV may explain at least some of the increased psychotropic medication use by women. IPV should be included as a predictor variable in future studies investigating psychotropic medication use which itself can be added to the list of adverse health risks of IPV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors*
  • Spouse Abuse / psychology
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Spouses / statistics & numerical data