Domestic Violence and Mental Health in Bolivia

Dominique Meekers, Tulane University
Sarah Pallin, Tulane University
Paul Hutchinson, Tulane University

Although domestic violence affects all societies, its prevalence varies considerably. Latin America, including Bolivia, has above-average rates of domestic violence. While a substantial body of research shows that domestic violence is associated with physical health problems, few studies focus on its association with mental health problems. Such research is particularly scarce for developing countries. This paper analyzes survey data from Bolivia to examine the relationship between women’s experiences with domestic violence and mental health. Specifically, we examine symptoms of depression (feeling tired all the time; crying easily), anxiety (feelings of fear for no apparent reason; headaches of great intensity), psychogenic seizures (convulsions, attacks with tongue biting), and psychotic episodes (hearing voices that others do not hear). Our results suggest that women who experienced emotional and/or sexual violence are more likely than other women to have symptoms of these mental health disorders.

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Presented in Poster Session 3