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Journal Article


Wong SP, Chang JC. J. Interpers. Violence 2016; 31(20): 3490-3505.


Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Internal Medicine, Magee-Women's Hospital of UPMC, Magee-Womens Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA


(Copyright © 2016, SAGE Publishing)






Little is known about altered eating behaviors that are associated with the experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization. Our aim was to explore the experiences and perspectives of IPV victims regarding their eating behaviors and their attitudes toward and use of food. We conducted focus groups and individual interviews with 25 IPV victims identified at a domestic violence agency and asked them about their eating behaviors and how, if at all, these behaviors related to their experience of IPV. Qualitative analysis of the transcribed encounters identified themes explicating the relationship between their eating behaviors and experiences of IPV. All women described altered eating behaviors related to IPV that were categorized into several major themes: (a) somatization (victims experience significant somatic symptoms as a result of abuse); (b) avoiding abuse (victims modify their eating behaviors to avoid abuse); (c) coping (victims use food to handle the psychological effects of abuse); (d) self-harm (victims use food to hurt themselves as a reaction to the abuse); and (e) challenging abusive partners (victims use their eating behaviors to retaliate against their abusers). IPV can provoke altered eating behaviors in victims that may be harmful, comforting, or a source of strength in their abusive relationships. Understanding the complex relationship between IPV and victims' altered eating behaviors is important in promoting healthy eating among victims.

Language: en


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