Women in a Shelter: Victims of Intimate Partner Violence - Their Health and Safety Needs

Akiko Kamimura, Yen Nguyen, Taha Al-Shaikhly, Lenora M. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


While the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) for U.S.-born women has been described, there is a paucity of information regarding IPV among immigrant women in the United States. The purpose of this study was to compare the physical and mental health, social support, health literacy, and sociodemographic factors among non-U.S.-born (immigrant) Spanish speakers, non-U.S.-born English speakers (immigrants), and U.S.-born English speakers (nonimmigrants). The hypothesis of this study is that these three groups have different levels of health status, social support, and health literacy. This project examines the impact of sociodemographic characteristics and social support on physical and mental health. One hundred nine women who experienced IPV and resided in a shelter participated in a self-administered survey from fall 2012 to spring 2013 (30 Spanish-speaking women, all of whom were non-U.S. born; 13 English-speaking non-U.S. born; and 66 English-speaking born in the United States). The survey measured physical and mental health functioning, depression, health literacy, social support, knowledge of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs, and sociodemographic information. Spanish-speaking participants reported more indicators of disadvantaged sociodemographic status (i.e., lower educational level, lack of health insurance), and health literacy but similar physical and mental health functioning and social support compared to English-speaking immigrant or nonimmigrant participants. A higher percentage of English-speaking immigrants compared to Spanish-speaking immigrants reported knowledge of and applying for VAWA programs. While both groups of immigrant women stayed in the shelter longer than nonimmigrant women, English-speaking immigrants stayed longer than Spanish-speaking immigrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-167
Number of pages7
JournalViolence and Gender
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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