Awarded New Investigator/Doctoral Dissertation Grant

Violence, Mental Health, Substance Use: Testing a Model

FOA Number: CE03-036 – Grants for Dissertation Awards for Doctoral Candidates for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 9/30/2003 – 9/29/2004
Application/Grant Number: R49/CCR323271-01
Principal Investigator: Kathryn S. Laughon
Johns Hopkins-School of Nursing,
Baltimore, MD


The project will employ a mixed method design to simultaneously address two main research objectives: understanding the relationships among experiences of IPV and childhood abuse and a number of health outcomes, including mental distress, substance use, and risk for STIs; and identifying abused women’s areas of strength in maintaining their sexual health and preventing further violence.

To address the first and primary research aim, secondary data will be used with 445 women (434 of which are African American, primarily poor) to test an adaptation of Wingood’s and DiClemente’s model of gender and power in public health. The data were part of the Women, AIDS, and the Violence Epidemic (WAVE) dataset. Using structural equation modeling, the study will examine the direct and indirect influences of lifetime trauma, current IPV, economic resources, mental health status, and substance use on HIV/STI risk.

To address the qualitative question, structured follow-up interviews will be conducted with approximately 20 women in the first study to examine sexual health practices. With the aid of NVivo, dimensional analysis will be employed to analyze the data.

The project has three aims:

  • to identify the relationship between experiences with childhood abuse and adult IPV and STI/HIV risk among poor women of color;
  • to test the hypothesized partial mediating effects of mental health and substance use on the relationship between violence and STI/HIV protective behaviors; and
  • to explore abused women’s strengths in maintaining their sexual health and preventing further violence.

It is hoped the results of this dissertation research will serve as the basis for developing a future, empirically sound nursing intervention to reduce further violence and HIV/STI risk among abused women.