Masters Thesis

Intimate Partner Abuse and Allostatic Load Biomarkers: A Meta-analysis

Intimate partner abuse (IPA) is a serious health concern for women worldwide, negatively affecting the psychological and physical health of millions of women each year. While the immediate physical repercussions of IPA, such as hospital visits, traumatic brain injuries, and femicide, have been investigated by the literature, there is a large gap in the research regarding the long-term health consequences of IPA. the Allostatic Load Model, originally proposed by McEwen and Stellar (1993), has outlined 26 neuroendocrine, immune, metabolic, cardiovascular, respiratory, and anthropometric biomarkers that are primary and secondary mediators of physiological processes. Chronic stress, such as that of IPA, can dysregulate these biomarkers and culminate into severe medical disorders. a meta-analytic review of existing literature on the relationship between severity of IPA and level of biomarker dysregulation was conducted. the available data within the six biomarker categories were meta-analyzed in order to illuminate current gaps and create a foundation for future research. Results showed that groups of women who experienced severe IPA exhibited more biomarker dysregulation. This small yet significant effect was found across biomarker categories. Psychopathology was not able to be analyzed as a moderator due to lack of studies investigating both AL biomarkers and battered women's mental health symptoms. Such knowledge can aid researchers and helping professionals to understand, treat, and prevent the wide-spanning effects of IPA.


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