When crises collide: How intimate partner violence and poverty intersect to shape women’s mental health and coping


Until recently, the connection between intimate partner violence (IPV) and persistent poverty had been largely ignored. Recent research indicates, however, that the two phenomena cooccur at high rates; produce parallel effects; and, in each other’s presence, constrain coping options. Therefore, both external situational, and internal psychological difficulties are missed when women contending with both poverty and IPV are viewed through the lens of just one or just the other. This article describes mental health consequences for women who contend with both partner violence and poverty. It proposes that the stress, powerlessness, and social isolation at the heart of both phenomena combine to produce posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and other emotional difficulties. The article also introduces the term ‘‘survival-focused coping’’ to describe women’s methods of coping with IPV in the context of poverty and highlights the role that domestic violence advocates, mental health providers, and researchers can play in addressing these tightly intertwined phenomena.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Trauma, Violence, & Abuse


Sage Publications

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type