Interpersonal Violence and Perinatal Mental Health

  • Jane FisherEmail author
  • Stephanie McKelvie
  • Susan Rees
Reference work entry
Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)


Experiencing or witnessing interpersonal violence, especially when it occurs within households, incurs fear and is harmful to health, including perinatal mental health. Both the perpetration and experience of interpersonal violence occur in gendered patterns and violent transgressions of the human rights of females begin prior to birth and occur across the life course. Although there is variation in prevalence between countries and cultures, violence against women is a universal phenomenon. It encompasses diverse forms of abuse, but the World Health Organization considers violence to be the principal gender-related cause of general health and common mental health problems among women. In this chapter, four examples of gender-based violence against women and girls and their impact on perinatal mental health are described: preference for male children and female feticide, childhood sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, and intimate partner violence in the context of especially difficult life circumstances.


Interpersonal violence Male child preference Childhood sexual abuse Intimate partner violence Perinatal mental health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Global and Women’s Health Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Psychiatry Research and Teaching Unit, School of PsychiatryUniversity of New South Wales, The Liverpool HospitalLiverpoolAustralia

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