Review Articles: Effects of Intimate Partner Violence on Immune Function and Disease Processes

Dana M. Dillard, Debra Rose Wilson


Individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) are at risk for a number of poor health outcomes as a direct result of recurring trauma and as an indirect result of the lingering effects of chronic stress on disease processes. The processes of stress-related inflammation lead to the development of disease. Stress-related diseases, including arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, and depression are prevalent in survivors of IPV, but further research is needed on morbidity and mortality in IPV. Nurses are reminded to assess all with patients for IPV and those who have been diagnosed with these disorders might need further assessment. This will offer opportunities for informed holistic intervention and more effective treatment practices.

Keywords: health consequences; immune function; intimate partner violence; stress.

Received: September 26, 2013; Accepted: November 18, 2013; Published: April 14, 2014

Corresponding Author: Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, Faculty Walden University, Managing Editor, International Journal of Childbirth Education. E-mail:

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