Intimate Partner Violence and Health: The Roles of Social Support and Communal Mastery in Five American Indian Communities

Katie Schultz, Melissa Walls, Sheryl J. Grana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Elevated rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) have been documented among American Indian (AI) populations and multiple negative health outcomes are associated with IPV among the general population. The aims of this study were to examine associations between IPV and health outcomes among AI women and men (N = 192) in five reservations in the upper Midwest and test for possible moderating roles of social support and communal mastery. Data were from quantitative survey results from the Gathering for Health study, a community-based participatory research project investigating the impact of stress on health among AI adults living with type 2 diabetes. Computer-assisted surveys measured IPV with current or most recent partner, depressive symptoms, adverse physical health conditions frequently co-occurring with type 2 diabetes, drug abuse, and self-reported levels of social support and communal mastery. Forty-eight percent of women and 43% of men reported IPV in their current or most recent relationship. Higher IPV scores were positively associated with depressive symptoms, physical health, and drug abuse and negatively associated with social support and communal mastery. Social support was negatively associated with depressive symptoms and drug abuse, and communal mastery and depressive symptoms were inversely correlated. Ordinary least squares regression analyses demonstrated positive relationships between IPV and all three adverse health outcomes, but communal mastery was not significantly related to any of the outcomes in multivariate models. Social support moderated the effects of IPV on depressive symptoms only and communal mastery demonstrated no moderating effect. Findings suggest that social support may be protective against negative health outcomes among this population and corroborate previous scientific literature on the negative health outcomes specifically related to IPV. Interventions seeking to increase social support may be an area in which to focus IPV preventive and treatment efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)NP6725-NP6746
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number13-14
Early online dateJan 7 2019
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the clinical and community-based members of the Gathering for Health Team: Sidnee Kellar, Rose Barber, Robert Miller, Tweed Shuman, Lorraine Smith, Sandy Zeznanski, Patty Subera, Tracy Martin, Geraldine Whiteman, Lisa Perry, Trisha Prentice, Alexis Mason, Charity Prentice-Pemberton, Kathy Dudley, Romona Nelson, Eileen Miller, Geraldine Brun, Murphy Thomas, Mary Sikora-Petersen, Tina Handeland, GayeAnn Allen, Frances Whitfield, Phillip Chapman Sr., Sonya Psuik, Hope Williams, Betty Jo Graveen, Daniel Chapman Jr., Doris Isham, Stan Day, Jane Villebrun, Beverly Steel, Muriel Deegan, Peggy Connor, Michael Connor, Ray E. Villebrun Sr., Pam Hughes, Cindy McDougall, Melanie McMichael, Robert Thompson, and Sandra Kier. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number DK091250 (M. Walls, PI). Research effort support was also provided in part by National Institute of Mental Health under award number T32MH019960. The contents of this article are attributable to the authors and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of the NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • diabetes
  • domestic violence
  • indigenous
  • mental health
  • substance use

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


Dive into the research topics of 'Intimate Partner Violence and Health: The Roles of Social Support and Communal Mastery in Five American Indian Communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this