Intimate Partner Violence and Suicide Attempt Among Women in the Philippines The Protective Role of Help-Seeking Behavior

Main Article Content

Sharisse May Barra


Intimate partner violence is among the leading women’s health issues globally. Hence, the primary aim of this study was to determine if intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is a significant risk factor in suicide attempts, and whether such an association is moderated by help-seeking behavior. A predictive correlational design was employed to determine associations between the variables of interest. The study sample consisted of 1,413 currently married or cohabiting Filipino women with exposure to IPV. In the direct effects model, physical IPV, psychological IPV, and sexual IPV emerged as significant risk factors for suicide attempts. In the moderation analysis, help-seeking behavior did not demonstrate a significant interaction with IPV in predicting suicide attempts. The current data highlight the importance of identifying and screening IPV-abused women in communities who may be at risk of attempting suicide. Additionally, suicide prevention strategies must consider the potential role of help-seeking behavior in increasing the risk of suicide among IPV-abused women.

Article Details

Research Articles


Alix, S., Cossette, L., Hebert, M., Cyr, M., & Frappier, J. (2017) Posttraumatic stress disorder and suicidal ideation among sexually abused adolescent girls: The mediating role of shame. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 26(2), 158–174.

Aliverdinia, A., & Pridemore, W. A. (2009). Women’s fatalistic suicide in Iran: A partial test of Durkeim in an Islamic republic. Violence Against Women, 15, 307–320.

Barra, S. M. M. & Barra, H. M. D. Women’s empowerment and its impact on household use of solid fuels in four Southeast Asian countries. Asian Women, 35(4), 23–45.

Breiding, M. J., Basile, K. C., Smith, S. G., Black, M. C., & Mahendra, R. (2015). Intimate partner violence surveillance: Uniform definitions and recommended data elements version 2.0. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cornally, N., & McCarthy, G. (2011). Help-seeking behaviour: A concept analysis. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 17(3), 280–288.

Dokkedahl, S. B., Kok, R. B., Murphy, S., Kristensen, T. R., Bech-Hansen, D., & Elklit, A. (2019). The psychological subtype of intimate partner violence and its effect on mental health: a systematic review with meta-analyses. Systematic Reviews, 8(198), 1–10.

Demographic and Health Surveys Program. (n.d.). Protecting the privacy of DHS survey respondents. methodology/Protecting-the-Privacy-of-DHS-Survey-Respondents.cfm

Devries, K., Watts, C., Yoshihama, M., Kiss, L., Schraiber, L. B., Deyessa, N., Heise, L., Durand, J., Mbwambo, J., Jansen, H., Berhane, Y., Ellsberg, M., Garcia-Moreno, C. & WHO Multi-Country Study Team. (2011). Violence against women is strongly associated with suicide attempts: Evidence from the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women. Social Science and Medicine, 73(1), 79–86. 2011.05.006

Emenike, E., Lawoko, S., & Dalal, K. (2008). Intimate partner violence and reproductive health of women in Kenya. International Nursing Review, 55(1), 97–102

Fergus, S., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2005). Adolescent resilience: A framework for understanding healthy development in the face of risk. Annual Review Public Health, 26, 399–419. 26.021304.144357

Garcia-Moreno, C., Jansen, H. A. F. M., Ellsberg, M., Heise, L., & Watts, C. H. (2006). Prevalence of intimate partner violence: findings from the WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence. Lancet, 368, 1260–1269

Gerino, E., Caldarera, A. M., Curti, L., Brustia, P., & Rollé, L. (2018). Intimate partner violence in the golden age: Systematic review of risk and protective factors. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1–14. 2018.01595

Gibbs, A., Dunkle, K., & Jewkes, R. (2018). Emotional and economic intimate partner violence as key drivers of depression and suicidal ideation: A cross-sectional study among young women in informal settlements in South Africa. Plos ONE, 13(4), 1–18.

Gubi, D., Nansubuga, E., & Wandera, S. O. (2020). Correlates of intimate partner violence among married women in Uganda: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health, 20(1), 1008.

Haarr, R. N. (2010). Suicidality among battered women in Tajikistan. Violence Against Women, 16(7), 764–788.

Hussain, S., Usman, M., Sabir, M., Zakar, R., & Usman, A. (2017). Prevalence of Spousal Violence and Associated Risk Factors: Facts from Pakistan Demographics and Health Survey 2012 – 13. Journal of Family Violence, 32, 711–719.

Indu, P. V., Remadevi, S., Vidhukumur, K., Navas, P. M. S., Anilkumar, T. V., & Subha, N. (2020). Domestic violence as a risk factor for attempted suicide in married women. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 35(23–24), 5753–5771.

Kennedy, A. C., & Prock, K. A. (2018). “I still feel like I am not normal”: A review of the role of stigma and stigmatization among female survivors of child sexual abuse, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence. Trauma Violence Abuse, 19(5), 512–527.

Krantz, G., & Vung, N. D. (2009). The role of controlling behaviour in intimate partner violence and its health effects: a population-based study from rural Vietnam. BMC Public Health, 9(143), 1–10.

Linos, N., Slopen, N., Berkman, L., Subramanian, S. V., & Kawachi, I. (2013). Predictors of help-seeking behaviour among women exposed to violence in Nigeria: A multilevel analysis to evaluate the impact of contextual and individual factors. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 68(3), 211–217.

MacIsaac, M. B., Bugeja, L. C., & Jelinek, G. A. (2017). The association between exposure to interpersonal violence and suicide among women: A systematic review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 41(1), 61–69.

Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56(3), 227–238.

McCleary-Sills, J., Namy, S., Nyoni, J., Rweyemamu, D., Salvatory, A., & Steven, E. (2015) Stigma, shame and women’s limited agency in help-seeking for intimate partner violence. Global Public Health, 11(1–2), 224–235.

McLaughlin, J., O’Carroll, R. E., & O’Connor, R. C. (2012). Intimate partner abuse and suicidality: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 32(8), 677–689.

Navarro-mantas, L., Velásquez, M. J., Lemus, S. De, & Megías, J. L. (2018). Prevalence and sociodemographic predictors of intimate partner violence against women in El Salvador. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(7–8), 1–27.

Parvin, K., Sultana, N., & Naved, R. T. (2016). Disclosure and help-seeking behavior of women exposed to physical spousal violence in Dhaka slums. BMC Public Health, 16, 383.

Paul, S. (2016). Intimate partner violence and women’s help-seeking behavior: evidence from India. Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, 28(1), 53–82.

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) & ICF International. (2014). Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey 2013. Manila & Maryland, USA: PSA and ICF International.

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) & ICF International. (2018). Philippines National Demographic and Health Survey 2017. Philippines and USA: PSA and ICF.

Reviere, S., Farber, E., Tworney, H., Okun, A., Jackson, E., & Zanville, H. (2007). Intimate partner violence and suicidality in low-income African American women: A multimethod assessment of coping factors. Violence Against Women, 13(11), 1113–1129.

Rutter, M. (2006). Implications of resilience concepts for scientific understanding. Annals New York Academy of Sciences, 12, 1–12.

Sansone, R. A., Chu, J., & Wiederman, M. W. (2006). Suicide attempts and domestic violence among psychiatric inpatients. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, 11(2), 163–166. 13651500600874873

Satyen, L., Rogic, A. C., & Supol, M. (2019). Intimate partner violence and help-seeking behaviour: A systematic review of cross-cultural differences. Journal of Immigrant Minority Health, 21(4),879–892. s10903-018-0803-9

Schuler, S. R., Lenzi, R., Badal, S. H., & Bates, L. M. (2016). Women’s empowerment as a protective factor against intimate partner violence in Bangladesh: A qualitative exploration of the process and limitations of its influence. Violence Against Women, 23(9), 1–22.

Seedat, S., Stein, M. B., & Forde, D. R. (2005). Association between physical partner violence, posttraumatic stress, childhood trauma, and suicide attempt in a community sample of women. Violence and Victims, 20(1), 87–98.

Selic, P., Pesjak, K., & Kersnik, J. (2011). The prevalence of exposure to domestic violence and the factors associated with co-occurrence of psychological and physical violence exposure: a sample from primary care patients. BMC Public Health, 11(621), 1–10.

Sere, Y., Roman, N. V., & Ruiter, R. A. C. (2021). Coping with the Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence Among South African Women: Systematic Review and Meta-Synthesis. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12(May), 1–15.

Shannon, L., Logan, T. K., Cole, J., & Medley, K. (2006). Help-seeking and coping strategies for intimate partner violence in rural and urban women. Violence and Victims 21(2), 167–181.

Tenkorang, E. Y., Sedziafa, A. P., & Owusu, A. Y. (2017). Does type and severity of violence affect the help-seeking behaviors of victims of intimate partner violence in Nigeria. Journal of Family Issues, 38(14), 2026–2046.

Thompson, M. P., Kaslow, N. J., & Kingree, J. B. (2002). Risk factors for suicide attempts among African American women experiencing recent intimate partner violence. Violence and Victims, 17(3), 283–295.

Vyas, S., & Mbwambo, J. (2017). Physical partner violence, women’s economic status and help-seeking behavior in Dar es Salaam and Mbeya, Tanzania. Global Health Action, 10(1), 1. 10.1080/16549716. 2017.1290426

Wandera, S. O., Kwagala, B., Ndugga, P., & Kabagenyi, A. (2015). Partners’ controlling behaviors and intimate partner sexual violence among married women in Uganda. BMC Public Health, 15(214), 1–9. s12889-015-1564-1

World Health Organization (2012). Understanding and addressing violence against women. WHO/RHR/12.36.

World Health Organization (2018). WHO: Addressing violence against women. WHO/RHR/12.36.

Zimmerman, M. A. (2013). Resiliency theory: A strengths-based approach to research and practice for adolescent health. Health Education and Behavior, 40(4), 381–383.