To investigate the prevalence of non-psychotic mental health disorders (MHDs) and the association between exposure to all forms of intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy and MHDs.
Cross-sectional population-based study conducted in the Northern Province of Rwanda and Kigali city.
Participants and settings
Totally, 921 women who gave birth ≤13 months before being interviewed were included. Simple random sampling was done to select villages, households and participants. Community health workers helped to identify eligible participants and clinical psychologists, nurses or midwives conducted face-to-face interviews. The collected data were analysed using descriptive statistics and bivariable and multivariable logistic regression modelling
The prevalence rates of generalised anxiety disorder, suicide ideation and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were 19.7%, 10.8% and 8.0%, respectively. Exposure to the four forms of IPV during pregnancy was highly associated with the likelihood of meeting diagnostic criteria for each of the non-psychotic MHDs investigated. Physical, psychological and sexual violence, showed the strongest association with PTSD, with adjusted ORs (aORs) of 4.5, 6.2 and 6.3, respectively. Controlling behaviour had the strongest association with major depressive episode in earlier periods with an aOR of 9.2.
IPV and MHDs should be integrated into guidelines for perinatal care. Moreover, community-based services aimed at increasing awareness and early identification of violence and MHDs should be instituted in all villages and health centres in Rwanda. Finally, healthcare providers need to be educated and trained in a consistent manner to manage the most challenging cases quickly, discreetly and efficiently.